The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts



Background: Respiratory Therapists are common transport team members, but their role is poorly described. We provide a snapshot of the roles and practices of the transport Respiratory Therapist.

Methods: A paper survey sent to 57 Association of Air Medical Services member programs identified as using Respiratory Therapist as part of the transport team.

Results: 36 surveys were returned, (63%). All returned surveys were fully completed and used for analysis. Operationally, all reporting teams have a Registered Nurse team member. 58.4% fly with a third medical crewmember, 28% with a MD, 22.2% with an EMT-P, 5.5% with an EMT, and 2.7% with an APRN. 13.9% fly with a fourth medical crewmember, 2.8% with a MD, 5.5% with an EMT-P, 2.8% with an EMT and 2.8% with an APRN. One third of RT transport teams respond to scenes and 58% care for patients of all ages. The median transport time is 120 minutes (IQR 60-240). While on duty, 41.6% work 8 hour shifts, 2.7% work 16 hour shifts, 38.7% work 24 hour shifts and 17% work > 24 hour shifts. 47% work in a hospital until a transport is requested. In preparation for transport RT positions, the median years of experience is 3 (IQR 2-3), 94% of the programs has a requirement to be registered, 11% has a requirement to be a member of the AARC and 2.7% has a requirement to be a member of the Surface and Air Section. Clinically, transport RT's commonly intubate 69.4% pediatrics and 64% neonatal patients, 78% participate in NO transports, and 64% use a portable lab analyzer in transports. Transport RT's intubate 39% of Adult patients and 11.11% manage Intra-aortic Balloon Pumps.

Conclusion: Current transport Respiratory Therapists practice is widely diverse.