The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2001 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

RESPIRATORYCARE STUDENT PERCEPTIONS OF PROFESSIONALISM AND AARC MEMBERSHIP

JamesLisenbey, R.R.T., Michael Anders, M.P.H., R.R.T., Jennifer L. Shaw, M.A.P.,James G. Parker, M.S. Arkansas Society for Respiratory Care; University of Arkansasfor Medical Sciences; Baptist Health Medical Center - North Little Rock.

Background: Nationwide therate of student membership in the American Association for Respiratory Care(AARC) is abysmal. In Arkansas, less than one in three students is a memberof the AARC. The purpose of this study was to assess student perceptions ofthe AARC within the context of professionalism.

Method: We surveyed studentsfrom 5 Respiratory Care programs in Arkansas. Survey queries featured a 5-pointscale and ascertained student perceptions of the AARC and professionalism. Weconsidered responses of ?Strongly Agree? and ?Agree? as positive; we considered?Strongly Disagree?, ?Disagree?, and ?Uncertain? as negative responses.

Results: The entire studentpopulation of 5 programs, all within 2 months of graduation, completed the survey.Only 10 of the students surveyed were AARC members. Student valuation of professionalissues and the AARC was discordant.

Survey (n-87)

% Positive Response
Therapists should be knowledgeableof new treatments & standards91
Licensure is important in ensuringcompetent therapy83
Research & publication is vitalto the future of therapists82
AARC is a strong advocate ingovernment affairs65
AARC membership is an importantpart of being a professional60
AARC provides adequate continuingeducation53
AARC membership cost is fairand reasonable40
AARC leadership is accessibleand addresses my concerns35

Conclusions:Less than 1 in 8 students, near graduation, were AARC members. While studentsoverwhelmingly valued knowledge of new treatments and standards, research andpublication, and licensure as important professional issues, they had an underwhelmingvaluation of AARC membership, services, and cost. A majority of their negativeresponses concerning the AARC were ?Uncertain?, likely representing a lack ofawareness about the organization. Our data suggests that we need to raise students?awareness of the AARC?s services and role in professional issues in an effortto enhance their perceptions of the organization and membership.

OF-01-068

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