An Analysis of Needs for Respiratory Therapists in Northeast Ohio and Development of Strategies to Meet Increased Recruitment Demands

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BACKGROUND: The 2005 American Association for Respiratory Care Human Resources Survey suggested that the national demand for respiratory therapists (RTs) exceeds the supply. At the Cleveland Clinic an expected hospital expansion of 350 beds by 2008 has increased the need for RT staff. This report describes a strategy by which we developed a plan, in concert with local RT colleges, to recruit RTs. METHODS: Local RT managers were surveyed regarding demand for RTs. We developed a recruitment plan, based on discussions with RT program directors. RESULTS: The survey data and models estimated an annual mean of 33.4 new positions in northeast Ohio. Despite the fact that approximately 84 people graduated from northeast Ohio RT programs yearly in 2004 to 2007, the growth in demand for RTs exceeded the estimated supply. The main factor that caused RT schools to limit the supply of RTs was the paucity of clinical sites. Our analysis shows the schools could achieve a 40% increase in student output, and that if the Cleveland Clinic could essentially double its graduate hires, all RT staff needs in our hospital would be met by 2010. CONCLUSIONS: To assure a needed supply of RTs, this work shows the value of modeling supply and demand scenarios, coupled with surveying local RT leaders and fostering dialog between local RT leaders in hospitals and colleges. The product of this activity was a strategy for achieving recruitment goals while assuring that other regional demands for RTs are also met. We recommend this approach to colleagues facing similar challenges.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Section of Respiratory Therapy, Department of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 2: Department of Health Professions, Youngstown State University, Youngstown, Ohio 3: Section of Respiratory Therapy, Department of Pulmonary, Allergy, and Critical Care Medicine, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio; Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio

Publication date: December 1, 2007

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