The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

FOSTERING EDUCATIONAL GROWTH TO PROMOTE FUTURE LEADERS IN RESPIRATORY CARE

Abby Motz, Tammy Byrd, Cynthia White; Division of Respiratory Care, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH

Background: As the respiratory care workforce ages, it is inevitable that the leaders of our profession will be stepping aside to allow new registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) to emerge and make their mark on the profession. Education is a key component to any good leader and advancing the respiratory care profession. However, currently half of the RT workforce is functioning at an Associate Degree level or lower. Other medical professions require a minimum of a Bachelors degree to obtain employment. RRTs must prepare themselves educationally to compete in today’s healthcare arena and to advance the profession. There are many educational platforms that allow today’s RRTs the ability to further their education. Our institution cultivates an environment for continuing education that also provides tuition reimbursement programs for undergraduate and graduate degrees. Currently, the Respiratory Care Division at our institution employs 195 therapists, 4% hold a Master’s Degree and 28% hold a Bachelor’s Degree. Method: Anonymous surveys were conducted and distributed to all Bachelor and Master Degree RRT holders at our institution; one for each degree holder. Results: In completing the survey, Bachelor Degree holders were 73% compliant and Master Degree holders were 86% compliant (See Table 1). Survey results indicated that the majority of Bachelor and Master Degree holders held degrees outside of respiratory care. 56% of the Bachelor Degree holders indicated they plan on pursuing a Masters Degree and 67% of the Master Degree holders indicated they plan on continuing education to further career advancement. Tuition reimbursement monies influenced 50%-69% of both groups in advancing their education level. 80% of the Masters Degree holders obtained a new position in leadership upon degree completion. Conclusion: Based on survey results, more RRTs are showing interest in continuing their education to obtain higher degrees. Tuition reimbursement does appear to play a role in this decision in addition to organizational support. At our institution, RRTs are positioning themselves to be future leaders in the respiratory care profession. Sponsored Research - None

Table 1. Bachelors and Masters Degree Sample Survey Questions