Author(s): Varekojis SM, Sergakis GG, Dunlevy CL, Foote E, Clutter J, Varekojis SM, Sergakis GG, Dunlevy CL, Foote E, Clutter J
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The profession of respiratory therapy (RT) continues to grow both in number, due to population growth and an ever-increasing aging population, and scope of practice, due to both new and expanded roles and responsibilities in divergent areas of clinical practice. Instructional technology, including distance learning, will probably play a key role in training, educating, and assessing RT students to meet the increasing demand for practitioners. OBJECTIVE: To assess current uses of distance learning and opinions concerning the appropriate use of distance education in RT education programs nationwide. METHODS: A 13-item on-line survey was designed to collect information about the frequency of use of various types of distance education typically utilized in RT education programs. The survey was sent to directors of 343 Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care accredited programs of RT education that offer entry-level or advanced courses of study. RESULTS: The response rate was 50\% (169 respondents). Fifty-two percent of the respondents indicated that their courses included some form of on-line learning component. Most directors anticipated that the distance composition of their course offerings will remain unchanged or increase in the near future. CONCLUSIONS: Our results indicate that, while distance education plays an important supportive role in RT education, there is still a preference for face-to-face instruction and Internet-facilitated courses among program directors. Program directors continue to view the laboratory and clinical settings as hands-on environments that require instructor supervision in order for students to demonstrate proficiency and critical thinking skills. When used appropriately, distance learning may be an efficient and effective approach to address the many barriers to education faced by the health workforce in general, including budget constraints, overloaded schedules, the need for on-the-job learning opportunities, and lack of access.
This article was published in Respir Care
and referenced in International Journal of Emergency Mental Health and Human Resilience