The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

THE RESULTS OF A RESPIRATORY THERAPY PRECPTOR TRAINING NEEDS ASSESSMENT: WHAT, WHY & HOW!

K. J. Rye1, 2, E. L. Boone1, 2, M. E. Anders1, 2


Background: There has been a growing interest in the utilization of volunteer clinical preceptors to provide clinical instruction to respiratory therapy (RT) students. However, in our experience, RT preceptors have frequently been obliged to serve as preceptors without the benefit of adequate training. The present study aimed to identify the preceptor training needs of RT educational programs.

Methods:
Program Directors (PD) of accredited RRT educational programs (246 RRT; 44 CRT) were asked via electronic mail to complete Web-based surveys. The survey was developed in two stages. First, relevant measures of preceptor training needs were identified in the literature and were included in the instrument. Secondly, five experienced RT educators and a qualitative methods expert reviewed the survey to assess the content and face validity of the instrument. The surveys elicited information regarding (a) demographic information about the participants’ programs, (b) the type and amount of preceptor training currently in place, (c) the content and delivery methods, and (d) barriers to a training program.

Results: Participants included 78 PD from across the United States at a variety of institutions (74% from 2-year colleges; 20% from 4-year colleges or universities; 4% from academic health centers). Associate degrees were offered at 61% of these programs and baccalaureate degrees at 12%. The study found that the majority of respondents use some type of unpaid clinical preceptors to provide educational experiences for their students. However, 32% of those preceptors receive no training prior to receiving students. When training is provided, the length of training varies from one hour to six weeks and is typically delivered primarily by the director of clinical education or program faculty. 81% of the participants believe there is a need for a standardized preceptor training program available for use by RT educational programs

Conclusions: There were evident gaps in the content and length of preceptor training programs currently being offered. Barriers to preceptor training were experienced by 72% of respondents. To address these problems, more attention should be given to the development and implementation of a standardized preceptor training program. This is a necessary step to assure standards of excellence are met by all participating educational programs to prepare their graduates for 21st century practice.

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