Spirometry is increasingly used in primary care settings for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with respiratory conditions. Conducting and interpreting the test is now part of many practice nurses' role. Spirometry is, however, effort dependent and the validity of a test result relies on the patient being able to master the technique. The role of the practitioner conducting the test - instructing, supporting and encouraging the patient - is vital. Adequate and appropriate training is essential to ensure that spirometry is properly conducted and any errors in technique identified and corrected.
The interpretation of spirometry is an advanced skill and all practitioners who interpret spirometry should be trained to Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology standards and assessed as competent. Systems for the quality assurance of spirometry in primary care will, hopefully, be put in place in the near future.
This resource, consisting of five assessment questions each at basic, intermediate and advanced levels, tests your knowledge of the basic principles of spirometry. Complete the entire resource, including reading the featured articles and undertaking some or all of the activities, to obtain certificates for three hours of continuing professional development to include in your annual portfolio.
Aims and Objectives
On completion of this resource you should have an understanding of:
Primary Care Commissioning. A guide to performing quality assured diagnostic spirometry. PCC. 2013 https://www.pcc-cic.org.uk/article/guide-quality-assured-diagnostic-spirometry
Spirometry . Patient.co.uk. Professional resource https://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/spirometry-pro
Practice Nurse featured articles
Spirometry: getting the test right Rachel Booker
Spirometry: Understanding the results Rachel Booker
Reversibility testing for airflow obstruction Andrew Booth
Further education and training
Spirometry training is available from Education for Health. Please follow the links below to relevant courses and workshops.
Performing quality assured spirometry (eLearning)
Date of preparation: June 2014
Review date: June 2015