The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

COMMENCING, EXECUTING, AND SUCCEEDING AT TRANSITIONING RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS FROM ASSOCIATES TO BACHELOR’S DEGREE HOLDERS: A NEW WAVE IN RESPIRATORY CARE

Abby Motz1, Robert Wachenthaler4, Cynthia White2, Scott Pettinichi3, Jenni Raake1; 1The Heart Institute, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH; 2Pediatric Intensive Care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH; 3Respiratory Care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH; 4Transport Team, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

Background: Recruitment and retention of qualified respiratory therapists (RTs) is a concern for any respiratory care department. The Respiratory Care Division at our institution currently employs over one hundred and ninety therapists, all of which provide care in a variety of patient care settings. Our staffing needs are projected to grow over the next several years. To preserve and attract experienced therapists, we wanted to promote longevity within our institution. In doing so, our hospital offers a generous benefits package; this package includes a tuition reimbursement program. To increase recruitment and retention, our hospital partnered with a local university to offer qualified, experienced therapists an onsite Bachelor’s degree program. Method: 16 applicants were accepted into the program, which offered core classes onsite. Tuition was paid for if applicants signed a retention contract for 3 years post graduation. A survey post graduation was conducted about the program and future career paths of all applicants. Results: There was 100% compliance from the applicants in completing the survey (See Table 1). Survey results indicated that 13 therapists obtained a bachelors degree. 2 therapists were still enrolled in classes at the time of submission and 1 therapist withdrew from the program. 3 graduates are now Clinical Managers, 4 graduates are now Clinical Educators, 1 graduate was promoted to Clinical Therapist III, and 1 graduate made a lateral transfer to another department. Conclusion: As a direct result of this program, RTs were able to continue their education and pursue career advancement. The program continues to grow with 26 therapists applying for the next cohort. Currently we have 20% our staff with Bachelor’s Degrees, our departmental goal is 40%. Benefits to the institution included a guaranteed retention period of three years after graduation, and an opportunity to recruit new RTs interested in obtaining their baccalaureate degree. Sponsored Research - None

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