The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Georgianna Sergakis1, Andrea Yagodich2, Sarah Varekojis1, Lauren Klocek1, Mary Mast1, Amanda Miller1

Introduction: Preceptors are a vital link in the successful training and orientation of the Respiratory Therapist. Preceptor training has been associated with improving the student RT experience and the orientation process for new employees. A good experience with a preceptor can improve retention and contribute to recruitment. On-line education is a convenient and efficient way to deliver training material, and is a mode of learning often preferred by adult learners.

Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the use of an on-line preceptor training module (PTM) to better prepare the preceptor for their role by examining attitudes, confidence, knowledge and beliefs.

Methods: The population for the pilot study was RTs employed at a large urban medical center. Designated preceptors were invited to participate in the on-line preceptor training. Participants in the study took a pre-test which observed their attitudes toward precepting, knowledge of adult learning principles, preceptor beliefs, and teaching and evaluation skills. After viewing the PTM via on on-line course management system, participants then completed a post-test to evaluate changes in attitudes, knowledge and beliefs. Descriptive statistics and t-tests were used to analyze the pre and post-test data.

Results: A total of 16 preceptors participated in the pilot study. Pre and post-test scores related to the preceptors' attitudes, confidence and understanding the role of the preceptor were statistically significant (p< .05), showing improvement or a more positive rating. Improvement in knowledge of adult learning principles was also reflected in the post-test scores. Participants agreed that there were challenges and barriers associated with precepting a student or new orientee. For example, greater than 50% stated there were challenges to providing effective feedback and facilitating reflection to evaluate the learning process. Participants found the online PTM useful and a convenient way to improve the preceptor experience and better understand their role.

Conclusion: The results of the pilot study suggest that on-line training has the potential to improve the preceptor's experience, while providing the preceptor freedom to learn at the pace and place of their choosing. Addressing perceived challenges and barriers to preceptors and outlining steps for providing effective evaluation and feedback are areas that should be addressed in preceptor training.