The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2004 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Baker RR, PhD RRT RCPT; Mishoe SC, PhD RRT FARRC; Taft AA, PhD RRT; Hall CR, MS RRT-NPS RPFT; Dennison FD, MS RRT RPFT; Reyes JJ, BS RRT-NPS; Hernlen K, MBA RRT; Lambert AM, MBA BSN. Medical College of Georgia. Augusta, Georgia.

The Challenges Faced: Professional and technical programs are being challenged to achieve superior educational outcomes with shrinking budgets and fewer faculty. When vacant positions are available, they can be difficult to fill. In many communities, the health care industry is facing similar challenges. Hospitals are struggling to meet the needs of the population it serves while dealing with unprecedented challenges associated with economic constraints, the increasing needs of an aging society, staff vacancies and greater workloads linked to compliance with HIPAA and regulatory agencies. Consequently, the environment for educating respiratory therapy students is also changing. There are fewer dollars to support faculty in the clinical setting at the same time that community resources available for teaching clinical rotations are decreased.
We developed a practice plan model that integrated faculty-led clinics into a respiratory care service department to meet current educational and clinical practice goals.

Desired Outcomes:
Educational objectives included the use of experienced clinical educators to provide training to students during developmental clinics, the maintenance of faculty clinical skills, and the development of new revenue sources to support the educational program. The goals of our clinical partner included the presence of faculty in the clinical setting to enhance the quality of clinical practice, provision of respiratory care by the faculty and students to help offset staffing shortages, and the recruitment of students with state-of-art knowledge onto the clinical staff.

The Faculty Practice Model: In our current 2+2 baccalaureate program model, students are scheduled for 860 hours of clinical time. Forty-three percent (372 hours) of this time is in faculty-led clinics. Community affiliates provide preceptors for students scheduled in specialty clinics and a clinical externship for 168 hours and 320 hours, respectively. The faculty-led student clinics were restructured to assist with the staffing and patient care needs of our affiliate. Junior-year, basic care clinics were scheduled in two, eight-hour shifts from 6:30 am to 3:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 11:00 pm to provide “while awake”coverage for a floor assignment. The two intensive care clinics for senior students were scheduled for 12 hour shifts from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm. The maximum faculty-to-student ratios were 1:5 and 1:4 for the floor and intensive care clinics, respectively. The number and type of procedures completed and the actual faculty time in clinic were recorded and used to determine productivity in faculty-led clinics.

The restructured clinic schedule met the educational needs of the students and supported the staffing needs of the clinical site. Faculty provided 688 hours of patient care and completed 1,969 procedures with students during the 2003 to 2004 academic year. Overall faculty productivity was 89.5%. This matched the productivity benchmark for respiratory therapy clinical staff. Based upon the redesigned faculty-led clinical rotations and the productivity data, the clinical affiliate contracted to pay for the clinical and educational services provided by respiratory therapy faculty. To date the implemented practice plan appears to be achieving the goals of each partner.

Current educational and health care challenges require creative solutions. Involving academic faculty in health care delivery during clinical rotations provides educational and practice benefits to both the academic program and the clinical facility. This model for faculty practice achieved a revenue stream to the educational program, while addressing the needs for clinical education of respiratory therapy students and a solution to staffing shortages for the clinical affiliate.