Teaching Respiratory Therapy through Problem Based Learning Approach

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Allied healthcare professionals including respiratory therapists are increasingly in demand due to the steady growth in the number of patients that are presenting themselves to the healthcare system (Andrews Byington, Masini, Keene, & Burker, 2008). Yet studies have shown that respiratory care education programs have a higher attrition rate than that of other allied health professions (Andrews et al. 2008). This increasing demand for respiratory professions is not currently being met through traditional education means which has led to the exploration of alternative techniques to teach these practitioners (Murphy, Hartigan, Walshe, Flynn, & O’Brien 2010). The goal of any teaching program is to prepare students for the ability to effectively interact with the ever changing expectations of their profession (Murphy et al. 2010). This is true in the field of respiratory therapy which has undergone major changes over the last five decades due to rapid advancements in technology, information available to consumers, and the aging of the population (Ceconi, Op’t Holt, Zip, Olson, & Beckett, 2008). Respiratory therapists have become increasingly responsible for the assessment of their patients condition, making judgments about the appropriate course of treatment, and evaluating the effectiveness of treatment through patient outcomes, modifying the treatment plan where necessary (Hill, 2002). This requires that these therapists have a higher level of critical thinking, assessment, and problem solving skills (Hill, 2002). Traditionally training programs for respiratory therapists took place in hospital settings where the educators were physicians and practitioners (Hill, 2002). These programs typically lasted under a year. Over time... ... middle of paper ... ...blem-based and case-based learning in respiratory care education. Respiratory Care Clinics Of North America, 11(3), 489-504. Rogal, S. M., & Snider, P.D. (2008). Rethinking the lecture: The application of problem based learning methods to atypical contexts. Nurse Education in Practice, 8, 213-219. Smalling, T. (2007, July). The best of times and the worst of times: The lost art of teaching physiology in the pulmonary function laboratory. RT: For Decision Makers in Respiratory Care. Retrieved June 10, 2010 from: http://www.rtmagazine.com/issues/2007-07.asp White, M., Michaud, G., Pachev, G., Lirenman, D., Kolenc, A., FitzGerlad, J. M. (2004). Randomized trial of problem-based versus didactic seminars for disseminating evidence-based guidelines on asthma management to primary care physicians. The Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions, 24, 237-243.

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