2001 OPEN FORUM Abstracts
WILLRESPIRATORY THERAPISTS GO ONLINE TO SATISFY CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL EDUCATIONREQUIREMENTS?
LyndaThomas Goodfellow, Ed.D., RRT, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA; KathyJ. Perdue Ph.D., CPA, Atlanta, GA; Thomas Valentine, Ph.D., The University ofGeorgia, Athens, GA .
Most respiratorytherapists (RTs) in the United States are required to complete continuing professionaleducation (CPE). Although Web-based CPE is available, RTs participating in thisform of education is minimal. This study examined the perceptions of RTs inthe state of Georgia concerning their reasons for participating or not participatingin Web-based CPE. Sixteen items with the capacity to motivate or deter participationwere ranked. The research question guiding this study was: What is the relativeimportance of specific reasons that either motivate or deter participation inWeb-based CPE by RTs? A survey instrument was developed to address the researchquestion and consisted of 16 motivational items, 16 deterrent items, and 8 personaland professional variables. Reliability scale analysis revealed a coefficientalpha = 0.934 for the motivation scale and a coefficient alpha = 0.905 for thedeterrence scale. A sample of 300 RTs was randomly selected from theRCP State Licensure List. In August 2000, the survey was mailed and after twofollow-ups, 110 respondents had returned usable surveys for a response rateof 37%. The 110 respondents ranged in age from 24 to 67, with a meanage of 40.1 years. The number of CPE hours completed during the last reportingperiod ranged from zero to 150 hours, with a mean of 31.8 hours. The majority(65.4%) of respondents were female. Forty-three percent held an associates degree,34.6% of respondents held a bachelors degree, 6.5% held a masters degree, 0.9%held a doctorate degree, and 9.3% of respondents indicated they held no collegedegree. At present, only 24 % are using the Web for CPE while 71% indicate thatthey plan to use the Web for CPE in the future. Means for the motivating itemsranged from 3.73 to 5.25 on a 1 (strongly disagree) to 6 (strongly agree) pointscale. For the deterring items, means ranged from 2.05 to 3.60. Only 1 itemon the deterrence portion of the survey established a mean at or above the 3.5theoretical half-point. The top motivation items related to time, convenience,and the elimination of travel. The top motivators for using Web-based CPE wouldallow professionals to schedule CPE on their own time, not during a rigid scheduleor out-of-town conference. The deterrence items encompassed concerns about credibilityand accuracy of content, and loss of personal interaction. Preferences for traditionalclassroom education support the literature indicating a resistance to change.The research can assert that RTs are motivated to participate in Web-based CPEand have the confidence, knowledge, and skill capacity to do so. Although themeans of individual deterrent items tend to be low, we believe that they worksynergistically to dissuade people from participating in education. Disseminationof this information to stakeholders in the continuing education process willallow for successful development of Web-based CPE in the future.