Date of Award

Spring 4-27-2015

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


Background: Clinical instructors are expected to be excellent practitioners with great teaching skills. They play a vital role in teaching the next generation of respiratory therapists (RTs). Because clinical instructors impact the learning process of teaching the next generation, it is important to identify the effective teaching characteristics that contribute to the clinical success of the student from the perspective of RT faculty. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to identify effective behavioral teaching characteristics of clinical instructors that are deemed most and least important by RT faculty in the State of Georgia. METHODS: Data were collected through a descriptive survey. The survey was adapted and emailed to all RT faculty members listed on The Georgia Society for Respiratory Care (GSRC) website. The survey consisted of three main domains: professional competence, relationship with students, and personal attributes. Thirty-five behavioral teaching characteristics were presented on a five-point Likert scale according to importance. RESULTS: Nineteen responses were received out of forty emailed surveys, with a response rate of 47.5%. The majority of participants indicated a master degree as their highest degree. Almost 58% of the participants teach at programs that offer associate degree. The study findings indicated faculty members’ perceptions ranking of the most important behavioral teaching characteristics hold a lot of similarities and some differences. Among all provided teaching characteristics, “Facilitate critical thinking in clinical practice was perceived as the most important behavioral teaching characteristic with mean scores and S.D of (M 4.89, S.D ±0.31), respectively. In the domain of relationship with students, “Encourage students to feel free to ask questions or ask for help” was ranked the highest by the participants with a mean of 4.57 and S.D of ±0.50. In the personal attributes domain, “Able to collaborate with other disciplines” was ranked as the most important characteristic with mean scores and S.D respectively (M 4.68, S.D ±0.47). CONCULSION: Faculty from different program levels (associate, baccalaureate and master) agreed that “Facilitate critical thinking in clinical practice” was the most important characteristic. Based on these findings, it is highly recommend that clinical instructors strive to improve their attitudes toward students as the best way to achieve the goals of clinical teaching. They also showed the need for respiratory therapy programs to foster and to promote uniformly identified effective behavioral teaching characteristics.