Date of Award

Fall 3-22-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Respiratory Therapy

First Advisor

Douglas Gardenhire

Second Advisor

Ralph Zimmerman

Third Advisor

Robert Muarry


BACKGROUND: Rapid changes in healthcare and science have enhanced the need for international educational experiences (IEE). Despite the importance of IEE in healthcare, there is a lack of literature in this area of research specifically relating to respiratory therapy. Therefore, it is important to assess the perceived impact of IEE in the United States on RT students in order to evaluate the need for developing international educational opportunities in the field of respiratory therapy. PURPOSE: The aim of this study was to assess Saudi RT international students’ perception of the impact of IEE on their lives experiences. METHODS: Data were collected through a descriptive survey using a modified version of the international education survey (IES). The survey was emailed to all RT members of the Saudi Society for Respiratory Care (SSRC). Four main dimensions were assessed: Professional RT role, global understanding, personal development, and intellectual development. Excluded from the study were non-Saudi RTs and RTs with no IEE from the United States. RESULTS: Nineteen responses met the exclusion criteria of the study and were excluded. The total adjusted number of participants was sixty-two (n=62) out of (N=534) emailed surveys. The study response rate was 15.17%. Just over half of participants hold a graduate degree in RT while 48.4% hold an undergraduate degree in RT. Female participants accounted for 12.9% of all participants while male participants accounted for 87.1%. The study revealed that “professional RT role” was the most impacted area of IEE for RT undergraduate students (M 5.48, ± 1.4). The study showed that “global understanding” was the most impacted area of IEE for graduate RT students (M 5.4, SD of ± 0.84). The study findings showed that there is a moderately significant positive correlation between the duration of IEEs and the impact of RT professional role (r=0.426; p=0.001). Moreover, the study findings indicated that IEEs had a higher but insignificant influence on former international RT students’ perceptions of impact than current students. Conclusion: IEE had a large overall impact on participant’s lives experiences. The study findings support the value of promoting IEEs in the United States for RT students due to its perceived positive impact on internationalization of healthcare. Further studies with higher number of participants, different cultural backgrounds, and different IEE destinations is recommended.