The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care
Purpose - The purpose of this pilot study was to investigate the comparison of attitudes toward professionalism between Respiratory Care and Radiology Technology students. The study was designed to determine if there was a significant correlation between students' attitudes from two different disciplines toward professionalism.
Methodology - Surveys of Respiratory Care (RC) and Radiology Technology (RAD) students were conducted at the University of Southern Indiana (Evansville, In.), Northern Kentucky University (Highland Heights, Ky.) and Edison Community College (Ft. Myers, Fla.). The surveys were administered by key instructors (Program Directors or Directors of Clinical Education) in each of the institutions. The students' participation was voluntary with no relationship to any course. The instrument used was an internally (University of Southern Indiana) generated survey addressing ten professional issues: offering expert opinions, patient needs, confidentiality, continual skills improvement, community service, life-long learning, interpersonal skills, personal appearance, and promoting the profession. Each category was assessed using a four point Likert scale (1= Strongly Disagree; 2= Disagree; 3= Agree; 4= Strongly Agree). The data from the returned surveys (N = 136) was entered into the SPSS statistical data base program.
Results - Results from demographic data collected on the group included a mean age of 25.37 ± Std Dev of 7.04; years in college of 3.57 ± Std Dev of 1.71; years in the program 1.69 ± Std Dev of 0.53 and years of work experience of 1.81 ± 4.22. There were 27 males and 109 females completing the survey.
The area having the lowest mean score for both groups was providing community service, 3.06 (± Std Dev of 0.63 for RAD and 3.53 ± Std Dev of 0.50 for RC. There was a significant Pearson r correlation at the 0.01 level (2-tailed) between the two groups in the areas of continual skills improvement, interpersonal skills and promoting the profession.
Discussion - At this level of training, both groups of students seem to be most concerned about obtaining and maintaining skills in their respective disciplines as well as promoting their professions. The area that is obviously of least concern to these students is community service. Professionalism is not just competence but must be viewed on a much broader scale. This is an area that most programs must continually promote and reinforce.