Date of Award

Fall 10-27-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas S. Gardenhire

Second Advisor

Robert B. Murray

Third Advisor

Ralph D. Zimmerman


Clinical instructors may have a negative or positive effect on student’s clinical practice. The behavioral characteristics of respiratory therapy clinical instructors are vital to the success of student’s clinical learning experience. Therefore, respiratory therapy student’s perception of the effectiveness of the clinical instructor’s behavior is an important indicator to modify and facilitate effective clinical instruction. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to identify the most effective clinical teaching behaviors (ECTB) perceived by undergraduate respiratory therapy (BSRT) and integrated graduate respiratory therapy (MSRT) students and to identify any similarities in their rankings. METHODS: The study used descriptive exploratory design with a self-reporting survey. The survey was administered to a convenience sample of first and second year BSRT and MSRT students attending an accredited respiratory therapy program at an urban university located in the southeastern United States. The survey consisted of 35 teaching behaviors presented on a five-point Likert scale according to importance. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Seventy-two students were surveyed, more than two-thirds of the respondents were female. Seventy-five percent of respondents studied were BSRT, which females accounted for 78% and males 22%. Graduate MSRT studied were 25% of the total sample with females and males equally split at 50%. Two thirds of MSRT students reported previous education with BSRT students reporting less than one-quarter. The study findings indicate BSRT and MSRT students’ perceptions ranking of the most important behavioral characteristics hold similarities but both perceive the ordered rank of importance differently. Both BSRT and MSRT students ranked “be approachable” as the most important clinical behavioral characteristic with mean scores and S.D respectively (M 4.89, S.D ±0.37, and M 4.94, S.D ±0.24). Additionally, BSRT students rank the characteristic “respect student as an individual” (M 4.87, S.D ±0.34) next significant while MSRT students rank “demonstrate self-control & patience” (M 4.94, S.D ±0.23) the next highest. CONCLUSION: Although BSRT and MSRT students’ perceptions demonstrated similarities, mean scores data between first year and second year show a shift in ranking between characteristics. This may be because student’s perceptions could change as they advance in their clinical course work or their past educational experience. In addition, the results may assist respiratory therapy clinical instructors to appreciate students’ views and acknowledge areas of success as well as areas needing improvement.