Hyperbaric training, also known as oxygen therapy medicine training, can be completed through an accredited certification program. During this program, participants study theory and application of oxygen therapy and learn to operate hyperbaric equipment. Physicians, nurses, technicians and respiratory therapists might pursue hyperbaric training. Healthcare professionals might use this training as part of their continuing education requirements or as part of their overall career training.
There are multiple levels of hyperbaric training. All students and professionals must complete primary hyperbaric training before enrolling in residency programs. Primary hyperbaric training gives background information of the history and theory behind hyperbaric medicine. It also covers scientific research findings as published in medical journals. Side effects and possible complications resulting from hyperbaric therapy are discussed as well.
In coastal areas where diving is prevalent, educational centers often offer advanced hyperbaric training. Emergency medical personnel might pursue training in hyperbaric medicine because of the relative frequency of diving-related injuries. Emergency service studies focus on first aid response and emergency treatment.
Nurses and technicians receive different training than respiratory therapists and physicians. The goal of nurses and technicians is to administer proscribed hyperbaric treatment in the safest manner possible. In order to do this, nurses and technicians must be able to evaluate the condition of patients who are undergoing hyperbaric treatment and must be able to operate the equipment properly. Failure to do so could result in serious illness to the patient, or in some cases, the patient and practitioner.
Much like any other drug, oxygen is prescribed in varying strengths for different ailments. Hyperbaric training for doctors and therapists focuses on how to diagnose illnesses that require oxygen therapy and prescribe the correct oxygen therapy treatment. Treatments can vary in the amount of time spent in a hyperbaric chamber and the concentration of oxygen during each session. Doctors and therapists must attend hundreds of oxygen therapy treatments before they are certified.
Oxygen therapy is commonly used for atmospheric pressure injuries. “The bends,” a common name for gas embolisms in the bloodstream, is caused when divers come up too quickly and their bodies cannot adjust to the pressure difference. Oxygen therapy is also used for non-healing wounds, such as burns, bedsores or diabetes ulcers. The increased amount of oxygen carried in the bloodstream increases the body's ability to heal.