The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2007 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

STUDENT RESPIRATORY THERAPIST INTERNSHIP PROGRAM

M. Turley1, C. Dills1


Background: Hospital for Special Care(HSC)is a private, not for profit 228 bed long term acute care, rehabilitation and chronic disease hospital which specializes in ventilator weaning and management, rehabilitation, medically complex pediatric and adult care. Hospitals throughout the state and nationally are competing for a limited number of graduate Respiratory Therapists. To improve our visibility and recruitment edge we developed the internship program. This program is a 3-4 week mentored clinical experience providing opportunities for students to grow clinically, academically and professionally while receiving monetary compensation. The program allows our staff to participate in recruitment and retention activities and further their professional growth and development.

Method: Program information is provided to area Respiratory Care Programs for distribution to their students. Interested students formally apply, interview and submit a letter of recommendation from an instructor. Once hired, students attend hospital orientation, complete a self assessment of skills and identify program goals. With this information the Clinical Educator coordinates identified skills and competency validations prior to the interns performing these skills under the supervision of their mentors. Mentors are chosen from staff with previous preceptor training and a desire to be part of the Internship Program. At completion of the program the interns complete a post internship self assessment of skills and all participants complete program evaluations.

Results: Four Respiratory Therapy Students completed the Internship Program and received job offers. Two interns accepted positions pending successful completion of the CRT exam. Self assessments performed pre and post internship demonstrated improvement in clinical skills, time management and organizational skills. Additionally, the interns gained an understanding of HSC culture and the care needs of long term medically complex patients. Organizational benefits include, staff participation in recruitment, further development of staff leadership and teaching skills, increase interest in HSC as a clinical site and the ability to assess potential employees.

Conclusion: The Internship Program was a success for HSC and the Interns through the achievement of established goals and objectives.

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