Role expectations of the respiratory therapy practitioner as reported by the role incumbent and other health care professionals

Respir Care. 1984 Sep;29(9):900-4.


The field of respiratory care has expanded quickly because of the technological advances of the past decade. This expansion has led the respiratory therapy practitioner (RTP) to view himself as functioning in a capacity that goes beyond technical competence to include patient evaluation and management. Other health care professionals, however, seem reluctant to accept this broadened role. This study sought to determine whether differences in RTP role expectations could be identified among RTPs, registered nurses, and physicians. In general, each group reported a similar pattern of expectations. However, major differences were identified between the physicians and RTPs in viewing tasks requiring independent clinical decisions and the modification of prescribed therapy. The nurse and RTP groups differed from the physician group in expectations related to recommending and obtaining additional patient data. No significant difference was found in expectations related to the removal of bronchopulmonary secretions. It is clear that the role of the RTP is not completely identified, accepted, or understood. Because of the inconsistencies in role expectations, the potential for role conflict may be increased and the effectiveness of the health care team reduced.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Missouri
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Respiratory Therapy*
  • Role