The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2005 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

BENEFITS AND DISSATISFACTION OF RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTIONER CERTIFICATION SYSTEM IN JAPAN

Yoshihiro Uzawa RRT, CPFT, RPT,1) Norihiro Kaneko MD1), Naonori Tashiro RPT1), Testuo Miyagawa RRT,RPT,PhD2), Masakazu Tanaka MD2), Yuka Oshimi RRT,RPT3) 1) Kameda Medical Center, Kamogawa, Chiba, Japan, 2) Showa University School of Medicine Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan, 3) Hayama Heart Center, Hayama, Kanagawa, Japan

Background: Respiratory care practitioner (RCP) certification systems differ from country to country. There are some countries, such as the United States, in which a national credentialing system and/or (state) licensing boards have become established. However, this process is still evolving in other countries. In Japan some medical societies provide a respiratory care certificate to health care providers who pass a written examination; however neither a national credential nor license has yet to become established. The current medical society-based respiratory certificate system began in 1996; it is open to nurses, clinical engineers and physical therapists with more than two years clinical experience. Now, more than 10,000 RCPs had been certified in Japan. Recently, the interest and numbers of multidisciplinary health care exam candidates for this certificate has significantly increased. However, there have been some problems with the system. The purpose of this study was to survey already certified RCPs to determine how the system has been beneficial and how it can be improved.

Subjects and Method: Members of Japan Respiratory Care Network (JRCN) and the attendants of JRCN-sponsored seminar were enrolled in this survey. A total of 1100 questionnaires were sent by mail, to be completed anonymously. 264 questionnaires were returned (24.0%), and 215 responses were used for the final analysis.

Results: Of 215 Japanese certified RCPs respondents, the proportion of the survey groups' original medical licenses were: nurses 73%, physical therapists 18% and clinical engineers 8%. Approximately 80% felt that this certification system process was helpful in promoting an increased level of their respiratory care knowledge. This was valuable for both peer staff development and patient care. However, about 80% of responders were not satisfied with the current system. They suggested the certification evolve into a national license, with expansion of medical procedures which the Japanese RCPs would be allowed perform. Health care practitioners who work full time as a respiratory care practitioner were restricted in their practice because of a lack of national recognition and limited utilization of a medical specialist in this role.

Conclusion: Japan's (medical society-based) respiratory care certificate system began ten years ago but has failed to achieve success due to lack of national acceptance for the subspecialty and limitations on performance of specific respiratory care procedures.

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