1997 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE USE OF A CHARACTER TRAIT ASSESSMENT FOR RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTITIONERS IN UPPER EAST TENNESSEE
Douglas Masini Ed.MA, RPFT, RRT Perinatal-Pediatric Respiratory Care Specialist. Pulmonary Physiology Service, Bristol Regional Medical Center, Bristol, TN 37620
BACKGROUND: A Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) is a trained healthcare professional with an academic and clinical education, consisting of essentials of respiratory therapy, cardio-pulmonary physiology, and diagnostic techniques. The literature suggests that a personality profile using character trait assessment (CTA) could be utilized as a component of the pre-employment interview, or to screen persons prior to admission to an RCP education program. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the receptivity of RCP's to a character trait assessment utilized for hiring or promotion. A purposive, non-random study design was used. METHOD: The researcher assembled a pilot group of RCP's; this group completed a questionnaire on the use of a character trait assessment (CTA) and they gave their feedback on the questionnaire's clarity and construction. A second, demographically similar group of RCP's (n = 42) participated in a 3-phase exercise where they first participated in the Personal Strengths Survey (PSS)(Smalley & Trent, 1990), a form of CTA. The RCP's were encouraged to discuss their results based upon the authors' interpretation. In the second phase, they completed an inventory of 'Desirable Character Traits for Respiratory Care Practitioners' from the PSS. The group then responded to the same questionnaire on CTA from the pilot study with responses and data collated. The questionnaires had identical administration techniques and only written instructions had been given to the pilot and phasic groups to prevent bias. Results: There was an 84% return rate of the phasic study, with 31 female RCP's and 11 male RCP's responding (n = 42), five of whom identified themselves as supervisors. The responses on the questionnaire answered the research questions, and statistics were presented in a descriptive format. Sixty-four percent of RCP's agreed to take a CTA when they knew the results would be used for hiring or promotion purposes. One-hundred percent of RCP's favored one-on-one, face-to-face traditional interviews over CTA. Forty-five percent of respondents agreed to a traditional interview and a CTA where the manager knew the results of the CTA and the interviewee did not, and 37% disagreed with this type of interview. An interview technique using CTA with a face-to-face meeting, where both the interviewer and interviewee knew the results of the CTA, was favored by 67% of RCP's, with 28% not sure, and 5% disagreeing. All forty-two RCP's disagreed with a telephone (no face-to-face) interview regardless of the CTA component. CONCLUSION: RCP's were not more receptive to CTA after first-hand experience with it, and they believed that traditional interviews were more fair and valid in showcasing their capabilities than interviews using a CTA. The findings of the study were that RCP's in Upper East Tennessee were receptive to the concept of CTA if the results were known to both the applicant and manager, but they strongly embrace traditional interview techniques.