The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

AN ANALYSIS OF NEEDS FOR RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS IN NORTHEAST OHIO AND DEVELOPMENT OF STRATEGIES TO MEET INCREASED RECRUITMENT DEMANDS


D. Orens1, R. Chatburn1, T. Volsko2, J. Stoller1


Background: The 2005 AARC Human Resource Survey suggests the national demand for respiratory therapists (RTs) exceeds the supply. At the Cleveland Clinic, an expected hospital expansion of 350 beds (including 100 ICU beds) by 2008 has increased the need for RT staff. The current report describes a strategy by which we developed a plan, in concert with local RT colleges, to recruit RTs.

Methods: Local RT managers and school program managers were surveyed regarding demands for RTs. We developed a recruitment plan, based on discussions with RT program directors .

Results:
The survey data and models estimated a need for an annual mean of 33.4 new positions. Despite the availability of RTs from programs of ~ 85 graduates yearly from 2004 to 2007, growth exceeded supply estimates. RT schools considered the paucity of clinical sites to be the main factor limiting the supply of RTs. Analysis showed the schools could achieve a 35% increase in student output: if the Cleveland Clinic could double the number of students at their clinical site. With this increase in graduates, all growth needs in our hospital would be met by 2010, while leaving the rest of Northeast Ohio with a surplus of six students.

Conclusions:
To assure a needed supply of RTs, this work shows the value of modeling supply and demand scenarios, coupled with surveying local RT leaders and fostering dialog between local RT leaders in hospitals and colleges. The product of this activity was a strategy for achieving recruitment goals while assuring that other regional demands for RTs are also met. We recommend this approach to colleagues facing similar challenges.