Utilizing Respiratory Therapists in an Interprofessional Clinical Practice Setting

Tuesday, August 20, 2019, 9:45 am - 11:15 am
Hyatt Northstar Ballroom
Theme: Aligning Education and Practice for Workforce Transformation and Health System Change

Background, including statement of problem, and aims:
Respiratory therapists must be proficient in therapeutic and diagnostic skills. Students must also be competent communicating and participating in a team-based approach to patient care. An increased need for therapists to possess these important non-technical skills was coupled with the need for the establishment of interdisciplinary teamwork.

Design or methodology:
An Interprofessional Clinical Practice (IPCP) experience was developed partnering with a Midwest university and three community health centers to address the needs of vulnerable populations. This setting was ideal to establish interprofessional student teams consisting of Respiratory Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Nursing, Social work, and Nutrition students.

The student teams targeted patient specific educational needs that could positively impact care. For each patient seen in the clinical setting, one student was established as team leader depending on the patient’s diagnosis. For example, patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were ideal candidates for the RT students to be recognized as leaders. After the patient’s chart was reviewed, RT students aided the practitioner in patient examination and interview, testing, and dyspnea levels. The student reported their findings to the team and created an interprofessional patient care plan with input from all students.

Results (data, outcomes and evidence):
Comparison results of pre/post surveys, considering all student team members and using the TeamSTEPPSTM Collaborative Practice Assessment Tool, were statistically significant for an increase in communication, team leadership, role responsibilities, and patient involvement. TeamSTEPPSTM Teamwork Attitudes Questionnaire results were statistically significant for leadership, situation monitoring, mutual support, and communication.

Conclusion:
RT students benefited and contributed interprofessional teams as validated by this study. RT students led education involving skills such as spirometry, alert levels, and medications. To enhance the respiratory student’s interprofessional experiences, more opportunities are warranted.

Reflections/lessons learned/implications:
Some areas for improvement were determined including the need for more opportunities for interprofessional experiences and improved patient follow-up.
If an abstract is based on research that was funded entirely or partially by an outside source, please list the funding agency and grant number at the end of the description.

Funding Attribution: HRSA: Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention "Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, UD7HP26900