Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

August 1998


The purpose of this study was to examine the preferences, impact, and attitude of respiratory care practitioners toward continuing education. A review of demographic characteristics was conducted to develop a professional profile of practitioners in Tennessee. An assessment of continuing education practices provided information concerning types of courses, preferences, and methods used to meet continuing education requirements. Data collection was made possible through the use of a questionnaire. A stratified random sample was drawn from the 1,966 respiratory care practitioners in Tennessee. Based on the practitioner's residence, 150 practitioners were selected from rural and urban communities. A total of 300 self-administered questionnaires were mailed to practitioners to comprise the sample. Data collection was conducted over a 4 week period with a second mailing occurring after the first 2 weeks. A total of 120 surveys were returned for a response rate of 40%. The findings in this study demonstrated that rural and urban respiratory care practitioners in Tennessee have similar preferences toward continuing education. Respiratory care practitioners felt mandatory continuing education was beneficial and should be retained in Tennessee. This study indicated no differences in the impact of mandatory continuing education on the attitude of rural and urban practitioners. Both groups reported that mandatory continuing education had impacted the attitude of respiratory care practitioners in a positive manner. The study produced findings that revealed differences between rural and urban practitioners most preferred and used methods of continuing education. Urban practitioners indicated an increase involvement of physicians as a method most preferred and used for continuing education when compared to rural respondents. Comparison of rural and urban respondents found both groups preferences for course content were the same. The need for continuing education in various content areas transcends geographical boundaries. The typical respiratory care practitioner tended to be a female between the ages of 26-45, while working as a full-time practitioner in an acute care hospital. However, differences were identified between the two populations when comparing professional characteristics. Most rural practitioners were credentialed as certified respiratory care technicians with urban practitioners identified themselves as registered respiratory therapist.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted