The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2003 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Will Respiratory Care Become a Single Gender Medical Profession? A Survey of Enrollment by Gender in Respiratory Care Programs.

Thomas J. Johnson, M.S., R.R.T., Daryn DeRose Ph. D., and Ardissa Phillips, B.S., R.R.T.
Long Island University Brooklyn, New York

During the 2002-2003 academic year 96 Respiratory Care programs were asked to participate in determining trends in enrollment by gender over the last four academic years (2002 2003, 2001-2002, 2000-2001 and 1999-2000). Forty-one programs responded. Average enrollment ranged from 5.5 to 35.75 students over the four years surveyed. There were 12 programs whose enrollment was greater than 15 students were. The male:female ratio was 1:2.333 over the years surveyed. The academic year of 2001 showed the lowest male student enrollment of only 27% and over the period it averaged 30%.

A small but significant positive relationship was found between the mean of the total number of students enrolled in each year and the mean proportion of male students in each academic year. (Adjusted R squared = 8.6%, t= 2.05, df =1, 33 and p<0.05) The larger programs were somewhat more likely to have a higher proportion of male students. It is interesting to note that one of the smaller programs reported having almost twice as many male students as female students in each of the years under study, a ratio far greater than that reported by any other school. If one treats this program as an outlier which it clearly is, then the relationship between the mean number of students enrolled per year for each school and the proportion of male students becomes greater (Adjusted R squared=13.6%, t= 2.49, df= 1, 32, p=0.018). Survey results could not determine whether financial, socio-economic or other factors played a role. The results of our survey suggest that larger programs have a higher proportion of males enrolled. The results do indicate there is a need for further study to determine why fewer males than females enroll in Respiratory Care programs.

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