The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

WRITTEN VERBATIM IDENTIFIES ALTRUISTIC ATTITUDES IN RESPIRATORY CARE STUDENTS

Kristen Whalen, David J. Plevak, Faith Zimmerman, Jeffrey Ward; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN

Background: In this time of economic recession, the financing of health care is becoming increasingly problematic. Charity care is an important resource for the needs of the poor and medically uninsured. Schools of Respiratory Care are initiating programs to introduce students to charity outreach. Three years ago, we initiated a course at the University of Minnesota/Mayo Clinic to engage respiratory therapy students in charity organizations in Rochester, Minnesota. Verbatim are written narratives of an experience. Reading verbatim can reveal personal attitudes, including attitudes toward altruism (1). We did this investigation to see if the students’ verbatim provided us with information that was different from their teachers’ assessment of their attitudes via classroom participation. Method: Students were required to commit 10 hours to community service. These services included health care, food distribution, listening and counseling, and shelter provision. Students wrote verbatim to assess time commitment, learning experience, and personal insight and attitudes. Three teachers were asked to assess 15 students’ willingness to empathize or identify with the ‘other’ (rate 1-5, 5=most willing), and willingness to engage in ‘foreign situations’ based only on their classroom participation. One teacher was asked to objectively assess verbatim received from each student on 10 hours of charity service. Criteria for verbatim assessment were based on items in an 8-item Empathy Quotient. Spearman Rank Correlation was used to assess possible correlation between altruistic qualities evidenced in classroom and those identified on examination of written verbatim. Results: Although there was a trend in correlation between teachers’ classroom perception of students’ willingness to engage and identify with ‘other’ and their verbatim assessment, the relationship was not statistically significant (r=0.369, p=1.7). Conclusion: This investigation indicates that written verbatim are useful in identifying altruistic qualities in students experiencing charity service that may not be identified by classroom participation. Reference: Wakabayashi, A: Development of short forms of empathy quotient and systemizing quotient. Personality and Individual Differences, 41, 929-40. 2006 Sponsored Research - None

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