The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Sarah M. Varekojis, Georgianna Sergakis, Crystal Dunlevy; The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

Background: Laboratory instruction is an important component of respiratory therapy (RT) education. Research has shown that peer teaching, pairing first-year and second-year students, is not only an effective method of instruction, but also enhances students'professional and personal development. Implementing peer-teaching in the respiratory therapy laboratory can offer opportunities for developing leadership skills and for enhancing instruction. Method: Twenty-two second-year RT students conducted laboratory sessions for 22 first-year RT students on a variety of topics related to mechanical ventilation and arterial blood gases. First and second-year students completed evaluations of the peer learning and peer teaching experience, respectively, at the end of each lab. Students rated the quality of their experience using both a 5-point Likert-type scale and through open-ended questions. Results: 100% of first-year and 90% of second-year students reported increased levels of confidence and improved communication skills, understanding and retention of the topics covered as a result of the peer teaching experience. Positive aspects of peer teaching reported by second-year students included feelings of satisfaction, responsibility, and respect in addition to mastery of the material as a result of required prep time. On the other hand, the amount of preparation was time-consuming, and some felt nervous or uncomfortable while conducting their lab session. First-year students responded that they felt less intimidated and appreciated practical tips from students who had recently been in their position. Conversely, they reported that some second-year students were impatient with their questions. 100% of RT students agreed that the experience was positive and that they would like to repeat it. Conclusions: Peer teaching represents an underutilized, yet highly effective resource for RT laboratory instruction. It potentially plays an important role for both teacher (developing professional skills like communication, decision-making, leadership, confidence, and respect) and learner (improved understanding and retention of topics learned). Sponsored Research - None