The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Jennifer L. Keely; Cardiopulmonary and Diagnostic Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Abstract Title: Therapists’ Experiences as Clinical Preceptors Background: The education of respiratory therapy students encompasses classroom, laboratory, and clinical experiences. Frequently, respiratory therapy students are assigned to staff therapists not designated as clinical preceptors and who lack additional training for working with students. As a result, students’ clinical experiences may vary considerably. The degree to which students’ education may be adversely affected is significant but difficult to measure. Also significant is the possible greater job dissatisfaction of therapists who precept students. This study sought to understand the experience of Missouri respiratory therapists who precept students in the hospital setting. The researcher’s hypothesis was that clinical precepting is a significant stressor which may adversely affect job satisfaction for therapists assigned the task. Methods: Data collection occurred via a researcher-developed electronic survey e-mailed to respiratory therapy department managers at 25 Missouri hospitals. Managers were asked to forward the survey to therapists in their departments. The participant sample included therapists who precept students in acute care settings. The survey utilized Likert-scale type items as well as open-ended questions, allowing the participants to respond freely. Results were analyzed using an open-coding method. Results: Results were collected over eight weeks with 89 respondents. Sixty-five percent of the respondents were staff therapists with the remaining respondents being department educators and supervisors. Ninety-two percent of the respondents rated their precepting experiences as positive but many said heavy workloads encroached on the time necessary for effective teaching. Conclusions: Most therapists serving as clinical preceptors find clinical precepting a positive work experience. However, departmental personnel responsible for division of workloads and preceptor assignments must ensure preceptors are given workloads that allow adequate teaching time for purposeful, thorough student precepting. As a result, preceptors will experience greater job satisfaction and students will receive consistently higher quality clinical experiences. Sponsored Research - None