The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2009 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

COMMENTS AND CONCERNS OF RESPIRATORY THERAPY PROGRAM DIRECTORS ON MOVE TO BACCALAUREATE DEGREE FOR ADVANCED PRACTITIONER ENTRY INTO THE PROFESSION

Arthur B. Marshak1, Robert L. Wilkins2, Helen H. Marshak1, Joyce W. Hopp1, W. G. Nelson3; 1Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA; 2Respiratory Care, University of Texas Health Sciences Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX; 3Administration, Kettering College of Medical Arts, Kettering, OH

Background: Respiratory Therapy Advanced Practitioner Program Directors are intimately involved in the education of practitioners to meet the future needs of the profession. A move toward making the baccalaureate degree as the minimum for entry into the profession brings Program Directors into the forefront of this issue. Method: Program Directors from CAAHEP accredited Advanced Practitioner programs completed an online survey assessing response to the movement among the allied health professions to raise the level of degree required for entry into these professions. These comments were then tabulated and organized according to themes. Results: Of the 325 CAAHEP Accredited Advanced Practitioner programs, responses were received from 158 Program Directors (48.6%). Of these, 105 (66.5%) provided input in the form of comments and concerns. The following nine themes emerged from an analysis of the content of their responses in decreasing order of frequency: 1. Advantages of Degree Change and Steps to Accomplish It (42.9%); 2. Workforce Issues (36.2%); 3. Ability of Program to Change Degree Offered (26.7%); 4. Contrast with Nursing and Other Allied Health Professions (19%); 5. Decreased Accessibility/Recruitment of Students (14.3%); 6. Concerns Regarding Continued Availability of the CRT (13.3%); 7.Patient Care Concerns (12.4%); 8. Increased Cost of Respiratory Therapy Education (5.7%); 9. Total Opposition to Change of Degree (2.9%). Conclusions: The Program Directors commented both positively and raised concerns about the potential move toward the baccalaureate degree. Respondents provided many suggestions in which the move could be made more palatable. Chief among them was the allowing of time for advance planning. Concerns were raised in the ability of 2-year institutions to offer a baccalaureate degree and whether there was a need within the profession to advance to that academic level. Overall, the comments were supportive of the idea, if given an adequate amount of time to accomplish it, and leadership from both CoARC and the AARC to shepherd the process. Sponsored Research - None

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