The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2001 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

DEVELOPMENTAND PRELIMINARY OUTCOME OF AN INTERNSHIP PROGRAM FOR RESPIRATORY THERAPY GRADUATES.

JimKeenan BS RRT, Kaylene Christensen RRT. Respiratory Care Service, PrimaryChildren?s Medical Center Salt Lake City Utah.

Background: Primary Children?sMedical Center (PCMC) is a pediatric and neonatal 250-bed tertiary care centerfor the intermountain west. The facility has a 55 bed level III NICU and a 29bed PICU. PCMC is a clinical affiliate for Weber State University?s (WSU) RespiratoryCare Program. Students that graduated from the program that demonstrated exceptionalskills during their clinical exposure were occasionally hired to fill the largenumber of open positions we have. What we found was that new graduates oftenlacked advanced intricate problem solving and communication skills needed tofunction in our high acuity environment. We often turned down new graduate applicantsin the hopes of finding RCP?s with more neonatal and pediatric experience. Theend result was that we had many unfilled positions.

Program Development & Design:PCMC designed a respiratory internship program to allow new graduates advancedtraining in the area of pediatric and neonatal critical respiratory care. WSUis a bachelors prepared program. In the programs fourth year, students are requiredto take one respiratory elective. Up to this time the electives have been aresearch project, QA project, and or asthma camp. PCMC proposed to the collegethat they add the respiratory internship program as another elective option.For students to be considered for the internship program, they must be a CRT,licensed and have BLS. They must have their neonatal and pediatric clinicalrotations complete and meet all qualifications at WSU. The internship consistsof 36, 12 hour shifts that must be completed in 6 months from the start of theprogram. The student will be assigned a primary and secondary preceptor. Thepreceptor is a volunteer staff RCP that is willing to participated in the program.The intern will match the schedule of the preceptors to best suit their schedules.At PCMC we have an assessment team that assesses all patients daily receivingrespiratory therapy treatments. The team uses patient assessments, patient drivenprotocols, and scoring systems to determine the effectiveness of therapy. Theysuggest alternatives in therapy when indicated. We feel it is important fornew graduates to be trained in this area. So, of the 36 shifts, 12 of thosewill be with an assessment team member. As a student demonstrates proficiency,it is documented, and then they are allowed to perform these tasks without thedirect observation of the preceptor. A stipend is paid for each shift worked.At the end of the 36 shifts the internship ends and the intern receives a certificationof completion. The intern may or may not then apply of a permanent full or parttime position.

Discussion & Results:During the program we have the opportunity to observe the students for performance,communication skills, work ethic, time and attendance. This insight providesus with additional information on the intern to determine if they would be aqualified candidate for hire. The preceptors and other staff members appreciatedthe extra assistance by the work done by the interns. To date, three internshave completed the program. Two applied, and were accepted for permanent fulltime positions. The other decided not to take a position at our facility.

Conclusion: This program allowsus to hire new graduates with a higher degree of neonatal and pediatric ICUexperience and to fill numerous open positions. This type of program shouldbe considered by high acuity facilities to provide exposure, training and toultimately hire new respiratory therapy graduates.

OF-01-230

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