Date of Award

Fall 11-13-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Lynda T. Goodfellow, Ed.D., RRT

Second Advisor

Robert B. Murray, MS, RRT

Third Advisor

Ralph D. Zimmerman, MSM, RRT-NPS


Clinical Instructors’ Perceptions of Effective Student Behavioral Characteristics Among Respiratory Therapy Students in the State of Georgia

By Yousef Aldabayan (Under the Direction of Dr. Lynda T. Goodfellow)


Background: Student behavioral characteristics are perceived to be crucial factors in developing and nurturing desirable qualities of future professionals. Similar to how respiratory therapy (RT) clinical instructors (CIs) are expected to possess great teaching skills, it is significant to determine the effective student behavioral characteristics among RT students in order to identify what motivates them and what qualities influence their clinical success in relation to the perceptions of RT CIs. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to identify and acknowledge the effective behavioral characteristics of RT students based on what the RT CIs in the State of Georgia perceive to be most and least important. METHODS: A descriptive survey was used to collect data. The survey was modified and later emailed to all RT CIs and registered proactive members of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), according to their website. The descriptive survey was composed of four main domains, including professional competence, relationship with the CI, personal attributes, and the perceptions of CIs and its role in their motivation to teach. Forty-one behavioral characteristics were revealed on a five-point Likert scale based on importance. RESULTS: One hundred eighty-four responses were received out of the eight hundred surveys emailed to the CIs, with a response rate of 23%. Most of the respondents specified a bachelor degree as their highest degree. From the list of student behavioral characteristics, “Show genuine interest in patients and their care” in clinical was perceived as the most important student behavioral characteristic (M 4.67, S.D ± .57). However, the RT students’ need to “be honest and direct to the CIs” was determined to be the most important behavioral characteristic (M 4.40, S.D ±0.70). In addition, to “demonstrate effective communications skills” was determined as the most important characteristic in the personal attributes domain (M 4.5, S.D ±0.56). Lastly, the “CIs stay motivated to teach and assist students when faced with acceptable student behaviors” was the most important domain of CIs’ perceptions of student behavioral characteristic that motivates them to teach, (M 4.38, S.D ±0.67). CONCLUSION: RT CIs from the list of active AARC members agreed that showing genuine interest in patients and their care was the most effective student behavioral characteristic among RT students in the State of Georgia. According to these findings, it is highly suggested that RT clinical students should work hard in improving their behaviors and attitudes toward their CIs to increase their motivation in achieving their goals in clinical learning.