The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2002 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

WHY RECENT GRADUATES DO OR DO NOT TAKE THE BOARD EXAMINATIONS

Amy Hildenbrand & Jill Savage, Indiana University Respiratory Therapy Students, Linda Van Scoder, EdD, RRT, Associate Professor, Indiana University

PURPOSE We intended to discover why recent respiratory therapy program graduates in the state of Indiana have or have not taken the entry-level examination (ELE), the written registry examination (WRE), and the clinical simulation examination (CSE).

BACKGROUND A trend exists in graduates not taking board examinations. The ELE has been shown as an effective way to represent the graduates? skills and knowledge. However, some studies have shown the WRE to have questionable validity. Also, the WRE now covers 73% of items at the analysis level and may need re-evaluation to see if an additional test, such as the CSE, is needed to demonstrate problem-solving ability.

METHODS In this descriptive study, a 15-item survey was sent to graduates of 7 of the 8 Indiana respiratory therapy programs. Graduates had approximately one month to return the survey. Graduates were asked to rank the importance of each response, and they had the opportunity to fill in an open-ended response as well. A pilot survey was conducted in a large mid-western hospital to ensure reliability using the test-retest method.

RESULTS The test-retest reliability of the survey instrument averaged 0.95. One hundred and sixty-nine surveys were sent out to the recent graduates. Seventy-one usable surveys were returned representing 42% of those surveyed. One hundred percent of respondents took the ELE, 78.57% took the WRE and CSE. The main reason for taking the ELE, WRE, and CSE was for personal achievement. The second reason was pay increase. Those who did not take the WRE and CSE did not take it because of the costs and lack of time. Only three respondents did not plan to take the WRE and CSE.

Respondents’ Reasons for Taking Board Examinations
Examination (percentages) Pay Increase ICU Work Personal Achievement State Requires

Job Requires

ELE n=71

-not important 13.24 19.12 2.86 5.88 2.86
-somewhat important 17.65 11.76 5.71 13.24 13.24
-very important 69.12 69.12 91.43 80.88 80.88
WRE n=68
-not important 15.15 35.94 1.49 51.67 31.25
-somewhat important 21.21 25.00 5.97 20.00 21.88
-very important 63.64 39.06 92.54 28.33 46.88
CSE n=68
-not important 15.38 36.92 1.52 52.46 33.85
-somewhat important 20.00 24.62 6.06 18.03 18.46
-very important 64.62 38.46 92.42 47.69

47.69

CONCLUSIONS We conclude that recent graduates take the board examinations for personal achievement, possible pay increase, and in the case of the ELE, the fact that the state requires it. Only three respondents answered that they have not taken or do not plan to take the WRE and CSE. Therefore, we could not draw any solid conclusions as to why therapists are not taking these board examinations. Many graduates responded saying that earning the RRT credential will not cause a pay increase. Since the surveys were anonymous, we were unable to determine how nonresponders feel. We suggest that a national survey be conducted on this subject, with special care given to obtain responses from those who do not intend to take the board examinations.

OF-02-025

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