The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Susan Rugano, David Chang; University of South Alabama, Mobile, AL

BACKGROUND: RT programs commonly assign students to precept with staff respiratory therapists in the clinical areas. Most of these staff therapists do not receive additional compensation for their role as preceptors. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the opinions of staff respiratory therapists who also served as unpaid clinical preceptors. METHODS: IRB approvals were obtained from the university and hospital. A 10-item questionnaire (Table 1) with a 5-level Likert Scale was developed and administered via an online surveying tool. The link of the electronic survey was sent to 50 staff respiratory therapists who served as unpaid clinical preceptors. The names of the survey respondents were not collected by the surveying tool. A descriptive evaluation was done to interpret the data. RESULTS: Twenty seven of 50 therapists (54%) completed the online survey. Some major findings of this study were described below. Of all therapists, the years of clinical experience and years served as preceptor ranged from 1 to >20 years. Eleven therapists (40.7%) precepted 3 or more students per shift. Twenty one therapists (77.8%) reported similar workload as other non-preceptors. Fourteen of the respondents (51.9%) did not feel overworked or overwhelmed serving as preceptors. Eighteen (66.7%) felt ineffective in providing quality patient care during busy days with heavy workload when serving as preceptors. Fifteen (55.6%) reported that they had sufficient time to precept students with a regular workload. Twenty six respondents (96.3%) felt stressful as preceptors when students showed lack of interest or motivation to learn. Twenty five respondents (92.6%) viewed merit pay increase a suitable compensation for their additional work as preceptors. CONCLUSIONS: RT program personnel and hospital RT manager should evaluate and balance the workload among staff therapists and those also served as unpaid clinical preceptors. RT programs should also device a strategy to encourage student’s interest and motivation to learn during clinical rotations. A merit pay increase should be considered as a way to compensate for the additional preceptor work performed by staff therapists. Sponsored Research - None Table 1. Questionnaire for respiratory therapists serving as clinical preceptors