Submitted by Trisha Miller
Upon receiving notification of the 2009 Forum agenda, I was very excited about all the prospects that could benefit the students and the Respiratory Therapy Program. This particular series is directed at educators and managers in respiratory therapy. I envisioned opportunity for better advising of students prior to entering the program and better advising once the student entered. Having just finished the Program Review for Respiratory Therapy, I saw opportunity for improvement in assessment. I also saw opportunity to increase my knowledge in distance learning techniques. Being very eager to be a part of this experience and knowledge pool, I wrote a proposal to request Title III funds and was awarded funds for this purpose.
The information began with a special one-day Educator Academy. The focus of the academy was on the admissions process. This is an extremely important process and closely related to retention in the program and the perfect opportunity for student advising. According to research provided by Janelle Gardiner, there appears to be correlation between the interview (term used in the lecture) with outcomes and attrition rates. This is encouraging me to review and possibly revise the information sheet that I am currently using. Ms. Gardiner also spoke on the different types of interview and the various interviewers that may be used.
The last meeting of the day, consisted of Ms. Gardiner and three other speakers. Each person discussed their interview techniques and tips that they have learned through their experience of the process. This has provided me with some ideas for revision of our process. Once again, student advising is incorporated into the interview.
At the beginning of this particular day, I was able to attend a workshop that concentrated on question writing for the respiratory therapy national exam. The exam pass rates are assessed by our accrediting body. We had an unusual low outcome for the 2008 Annual Report. I wanted to be updated on the thought process that goes into developing these exams. I did gain some very useful information and confirmation of some things I already thought I knew. The contents of this workshop will aide continued program assessment in the area of student and graduate pass rates.
The Forum actually started the next day and continued with the concept of Achieving Credentialing Success. My interest in this was obvious. But, of most importance, for the first time in many years, there were students who were not able to pass the exit exam on the first attempt. These same students were not able to pass the entry level exam on the first attempt. Why? This needed assessment. I thought I could obtain insight and possibly incorporate something learned in order to get back to and meet accreditation standards. We are already doing most of the suggested strategies to maximize success. One term that was continuously used was culture. My thoughts are to reinforce and stress a positive culture with success for quality patient care being our goal and in order to provide that type of quality we have to be successful in passing the credentialing exams offered by the NBRC.
The three other lectures concentrated on program assessment in regards to preparing for the accrediting body visit and assessing the program resources. We use several surveys developed by our accreditation agency for program assessment. These tools were looked at in relation to how to use the information obtained. The information I gained will help me in the future as I send out the surveys and collect the information from the surveys. I also gained ideas from other program directors on ways to increase survey return rates. Getting people to return surveys is the hardest part of the process.
After lunch, the remaining lectures were composed of a thread connecting education, hospitals and the community. Reviewing the respiratory educational opportunities of AS and BS degrees in the field were discussed. Partnerships were discussed and how the use of webinars and computer technology can help facilitate these relationships.
The last two days of the Forum concentrated on teaching a variety of respiratory concepts and techniques, traditional as well as technological that have worked for other educators. On the last day, I did break away from the educator’s tract and attended a lecture in the manager’s tract titled “Computers in Health Care”. Technology has changed the way patient information is being transcribed and stored. I am of the old school of hand written charting and this is really old school. Hospitals have incorporated electronic charting as either a partial way to compile information or the only way to compile patient information.
All and all the Forum was very informative. I have new ideas to improve program assessment. I have gained strategies to help in student advising and retention. I have been exposed to how technology continues to expand in health care. This includes distance learning through the use of webinars. I really enjoyed the fact that Forum was specialized for respiratory educators. It did not matter where I was, a meeting, a break, lunch, relaxing a bit, you would hear people talking about students, teaching, program success and failure and outcomes and I realized that Carteret Community College is not unique with some of the things we are doing with outcomes. I feel my goals were reached after attending the Forum and I am more knowledgeable in certain areas. This would not have been possible without the support of the Title III grant. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity.
Curriculum Area Coordinator, Respiratory Therapy
Carteret Community College