Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Ralph “Chip” Zimmerman

Second Advisor

Douglas S. Gardenhire

Third Advisor

Lynda T. Goodfellow


Respiratory therapy graduate students are going to face a clinical environment that commands greater responsibility and culpability than in years past. Therefore, respiratory therapy educators must prepare graduates for the multidimensional demands of the workplace. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore the perception of the undergraduate respiratory therapy (BSRT) and integrated graduate respiratory therapy (MSRT) students in the implementation of simulation in the educational laboratory setting. METHODS: Data were collected through a descriptive survey. The survey was distributed to a convenience sample of first year BSRT and MSRT students attending an accredited respiratory therapy program at an urban public research university in the southeast United States. The survey consisted of 10 questions presented in a four-point Likert-type scale to obtain students’ perceptions regarding their simulation experience. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: Thirty-two students were surveyed, more than two-thirds of the participants were female. Approximately seventy-one percent of respondents were BSRT, females accounted for 87% and males 13%. Graduate MSRT were 28.1% of the total sample with 44.4% females and 55.6% males. More than two-thirds of MSRT students reported previous clinical experience while BSRT students reported less than one-quarter. Additionally, only two students from BSRT indicated that they have previous simulation experience, whereas more than half of MSRT students reported previous simulation experience. The study findings indicate BSRT and MSRT students’ overall perceptions are similar, however, both perceive the experience of nervousness differently. BSRT students indicated high agreement with the statement that they experienced nervousness during the simulation with mean = 3.52 (SD ± .51). MSRT students indicated high agreement with the statement that simulation was a valuable learning experience with mean = 3.33 (SD ± .70). Both of BSRT & MSRT students agreed that simulation should continue to be an integral part of the respiratory therapy program. MSRT students demonstrated higher agreement with mean = 3.55 (SD ± .72). Finally, the majority of responses to a debriefing session after simulation experience supported their understanding and reasoning were positive from both BSRT & MSRT students with means respectively = 3.39 (SD ± .65), and 3.55, (SD ± .52). CONCLUSION: Respiratory therapy educators continue to strive to enhance respiratory therapy students’ clinical reasoning, transference of theory to clinical practice, skills acquisition, and critical thinking. Use of simulation is essential to achieve these objectives. The results of this study support the implementation of simulation course in the curriculum as a mandatory requirement prior to clinical practice as evidenced by positive responses from students. Although students felt positively that simulation should be continued in the curriculum, they did not feel it should totally substitute for all clinical experiences.