Introduction: The purpose of this study was to determine the perceptions of practicing respiratory therapists (RT) and respiratory care educators regarding the role of RTs serving as physician extenders. Methods: The survey instrument was an electronic questionnaire that consisted of 17 questions. Participation was voluntary and participants were selected through random and convenience sampling techniques. Results: Of 506 respondents, 234 were respiratory care educators. Overwhelmingly, the respondents held the Registered Respiratory Therapist credential (92.7%). Respondents were about equally split among three education levels: 31.7% associate degree, 31.7% bachelor’s degree, and 27.3% master’s degree. Of the respondents 62.45% had considered pursing a degree in physician assistant (PA). Respondents expressed a preference for an Advanced Practice Respiratory Therapy (APRT) program (77.9%) rather than a PA program. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents reported they felt that a master’s degree should be the minimum level of education for an APRT. Conclusions: This study suggests that practitioners and educators alike are strongly supportive of advanced practice in the profession of respiratory therapy.
Keene, Shane; McHenry, Kristen L.; Byington, Randy L.; and Washam, Mark. 2015. Respiratory Therapists as Physician Extenders: Perceptions of Practitioners and Educators. Respiratory Care Education Annual. http://www.aarc.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/rcea2015.pdf ISSN: 2372-0735