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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 339-345

Respiratory therapists' role in research: Results of a National survey

1 Respiratory Institute – A90, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA
2 Education Institute – NA22, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA

Correspondence Address:
Richard Rice
Respiratory Institute – A90, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44195
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

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Background: While research is essential to respiratory therapy, little attention has been given to the role of respiratory therapists (RTs) in conducting research. To better understand the prevalence and spectrum of roles of RTs in research, a survey of RTs was designed and administered. Methods: The study was deemed exempt by the Cleveland Clinic Institutional Review Board. An invitation to participate in the survey was sent electronically to members of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) via ‘AARConnect’ (the AARC's social and professional networking site) on May 21, 2012 and the survey remained open until August 16, 2012. A second, similar survey was sent via ‘Listserve’ to 6,431 RTs in the state of Ohio and remained open from May 31, 2012 to August 16, 2012. Results: Response rates to the national and state-wide surveys were 0.16% and 13%, respectively. Eighty two individuals responded to the AARConnect survey, while the Ohio survey attracted 849 respondents. Of the 81 active AARConnect RT respondents, 31 (38%) reported being currently involved in research activity: 29 (36%) had been involved in research in the past but not currently, and 21 (26%) reported never being involved in any research activity. In contrast, fewer of the Ohio survey respondents reported research experience or involvement. Conclusions: To our knowledge, this represents the first survey of RTs to assess research roles. Limitations of this study include possible biases related to small sample size, self-selection of respondents, and self-reported data. Overall, these results both suggest that a minority of RTs have research experience and that additional study is needed to better characterise the prevalence and level of research experience of RTs.

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