The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

CHANGES IN ATTITUDES TOWARD CLASSROOM AND CLINICAL MISCONDUCT IN ALLIED HEALTH STUDENTS

Robert L. Wilkins, Ph.D., RRT, Arthur B. Marshak, B.S., RRT, RPFT, Helen Hopp Marshak, Ph.D. School of Allied Health Professions, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, Ca

Introduction: Educators in the medical professions have sought to identify the impact of programs on their students for many years. Students are exposed to a large variety of classroom and clinical activities in respiratory care programs. How these activities impact student perceptions toward examples of misconduct is not known. Objective: We sought to identify the potential changes in the attitudes of students towards specific examples of classroom and clinical misconduct.

Methods:
As part of a pilot study, students enrolled in the department of cardiopulmonary sciences at Loma Linda University completed a survey pre and post program to identify potential changes in attitudes toward examples of 10 inappropriate classroom and 13 clinical behaviors. Each participant rated the seriousness of the behaviors on a scale of one to five (one = less serious; and 5 = very serious).

Results:
Twenty-one of 25 (84%) students completed the survey both pre and post program. No significant changes in attitudes towards the 10 examples of classroom behavior were identified over the course of the program. Attitudes towards five of the 13 examples of clinical misconduct were found to change significantly towards a lower score (less serious) over the course of the program. The five behaviors noted to change were: parking in the visitor's parking lot [pre-program [mean] =3.38 vs. post-program [mean] =2.67 (p = .03)]; not reporting false charting [pre-program [mean] = 4.95 vs post=program [mean] = 4.57 (p < .01)]; taking hospital equipment for personal use [pre-program [mean] = 4.71 vs post program [mean] = 4.29 (p <.01)]; calling in sick inappropriately [pre-program [mean] = 4.48 vs. post program [mean] = 4.05 (p = .025)]; and refusing to care for patients with a highly contagious disease [pre-program [mean] = 4.67 vs. post-program [mean] = 4.14 (p = .05)] Conclusion: The attitudes of allied health students toward clinical misconduct appear to be more susceptible to change especially in a negative direction as compared to examples of classroom misconduct. This result may be due to modeling in the clinical setting. Attitudes towards classroom conduct appear to be well established. Educators of respiratory care students need to be aware of the fact that their students are in the early stages of development for attitudes toward clinical conduct.

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