Indian Journal of Respiratory Care

IJRC Email      Register      Login

VOLUME 10 , ISSUE 3 ( September-December, 2021 ) > List of Articles

Original Article

Exploring the Critical Thinking Skills of Respiratory Care Students and Faculty

Bshayer Ramadan Alhamad, Genevieve Pinto Zipp

Keywords : Education, faculty, perception, respiratory therapy, students, thinking

Citation Information : Alhamad BR, Zipp GP. Exploring the Critical Thinking Skills of Respiratory Care Students and Faculty. Indian J Respir Care 2021; 10 (3):280-288.

DOI: 10.4103/ijrc.ijrc_88_21

License: CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Published Online: 06-12-2022

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2021; Indian Journal of Respiratory Care.


Background: Critical thinking is an essential skill for respiratory therapists to provide competent patient care. However, limited evidence of respiratory care studentsÂ' critical thinking levels and no empirical evidence assessing that of respiratory care faculty exists. This study aims to assess the overall critical thinking levels of respiratory care students and faculty, determine whether faculty have stronger overall critical thinking skills than students, and investigate studentsÂ' and facultyÂ's perceptions regarding what critical thinking is and how it develops. Methods: An E-mail invitation was sent to all accredited US respiratory care education program directors asking for their participation and forwarding the solicitation letter to students and faculty. Participants completed a two-section online survey first requesting demographic information and presenting three open-ended questions and then providing the health sciences reasoning test (HSRT) to assess participantsÂ' critical thinking. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and one-tailed independent t-test (P < 0.05); content analysis was used for qualitative data. IRB approval was obtained. Results: Twenty-two students (12 females and in associate degree programs) and 20 faculty (13 females, 9 with a masterÂ's) completed the HSRT. Students demonstrated moderate overall critical thinking ability (17.81 ± 4.19), whereas faculty had a statistically stronger level (21.65 ± 5.41) than students (P = 0.007). Qualitative data demonstrated participantsÂ' use of themes (e.g., problem-solving) identified in the literature to define critical thinking, reported faculty role (e.g., mentor) in promoting studentsÂ' critical thinking, and presented educational strategies (e.g., case studies) for fostering studentsÂ' critical thinking. Conclusions: This study found faculty displayed stronger overall critical thinking skills than students. It is imperative for respiratory care programs and faculty to develop further studentsÂ' critical thinking levels from moderate to advanced, as recommended for the competencies specified in the American Association for Respiratory Care 2015 and Beyond report.

  1. Barnes TA, Gale DD, Kacmarek RM, Kageler WV. Competencies needed by graduate respiratory therapists in 2015 and beyond. Respir Care 2010;55:601-16.
  2. LeGrand TS, Shelledy DC. Predicting graduate performance on selected respiratory care program outcome measures: Development of a correlational model. Respir Care Educ Annual 1999;8:3-11.
  3. Johnson JC, Van Scoder LI. Is there a relationship between student performance on the written self-assessment examination, and tests of critical thinking skills or critical thinking disposition? Respir Care Educ Annual 2002:11:32-3.
  4. Shelledy DC, Gardner DD, Carpenter ME, Murphy DL. The relationship between general critical thinking ability and student performance. Respir Care Educ Annual 2004a; 13:23-8.
  5. Shelledy DC, Gardner DD, Wettstein RB. Development of an instrument for the assessment of students' critical-thinking and problem solving ability. Respir Care Educ Annual 2004;13:15-23.
  6. Shelledy DC, Valley MA, Murphy DL, Carpenter ME. Effect of content, process, computer-assisted instruction, and critical-thinking ability on students' performance on written clinical simulations. Respir Care Educ Annual 1997;6:11-29.
  7. Wettstein RB, Wilkins RL, Gardner DD, Restrepo RD. Critical-thinking ability in respiratory care students and its correlation with age, educational background, and performance on national board examinations. Respir Care 2011;56:284-9.
  8. Adams D. Integrating critical thinking into the respiratory care curriculum. AARC Times 1995; 19:29-33.
  9. Robbins Y. Teaching critical thinking to the respiratory care student. AARC Times 1988;12:23-4.
  10. Mishoe SC. Critical thinking in respiratory care practice (Doctoral dissertation); 1994. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses (UMI No. 9507227).
  11. Mishoe SC. Critical thinking in respiratory care practice: A qualitative research study. Respir Care 2003;48:500-16.
  12. Behar-Horenstein LS, Niu L. Teaching critical thinking skills in higher education: A review of the literature. J Coll Teach Learn 2011;8:25-42.
  13. Facione NC, Facione PA. The Health Sciences Reasoning Test. Millbrae, CA: California Academic Press; 2006.
  14. Insight Assessment. Health Sciences Reasoning Test: User Manual and Resource Guide. San Jose, CA: Insight Assessment/California Academic Press; 2016.
  15. Huhn K, Black L, Jensen GM, Deutsch JE. Construct validity of the health science reasoning test. J Allied Health 2011;40:181-6.
  16. Facione PA. Critical Thinking: A Statement of Expert Consensus for the Purposes of Educational Assessment and Instruction. Executive Summary. The Delphi Report. Millbrae, CA California: Academic Press; 1990.
  17. Portney LG, Watkins MP. Foundations of Clinical Research: Application to Practice. 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall; 2009.
  18. Elo S, Kyngäs H. The qualitative content analysis process. J Adv Nurs 2008;62:107-15.
  19. Maxwell JA. Qualitative Research Design: An Interactive Approach, 3rd ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 2013.
  20. Cohen J. Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edition. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates; 1988.
  21. Cohen J. Statistical power analysis. Curr Dir Psychol Sci 1992;1:98-101.
  22. Sullivan GM, Feinn R. Using effect size -or why the p value is not enough. J Grad Med Educ 2012;4:279-82.
  23. Clark MC. Critical thinking in respiratory therapy students: Comparing baccalaureate and associate degree students (Doctoral dissertation); 2012. Capella University, Minneapolis, MN. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (UMI No. 3541614).
  24. Colletti NE. The impact of completing authentic tasks on the development of critical thinking skills (Doctoral dissertation); 2011. Capella University, Minneapolis, MN. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (UMI No. 3478083).
  25. Blondy LC. Measurement and comparison of nursing faculty members' critical thinking skills. West J Nurs Res 2011;33:180-95.
  26. Zygmont DM, Schaefer KM. Assessing the critical thinking skills of faculty: What do the findings mean for nursing education? Nurs Educ Perspect 2006;27:260-8.
  27. Krupat E, Sprague JM, Wolpaw D, Haidel P, Hatem D, O'Brien B. Thinking critically about critical thinking: Ability, disposition or both? Med Educ 2011;45:625-35.
  28. Rowles J, Morgan C, Burns S, Merchant C. Faculty perceptions of critical thinking at a health sciences university. J Schol Teach Learn 2013;13:21-35.
  29. Loving GL, Wilson JS. Infusing critical thinking into the nursing curriculum through faculty development. Nurs Educ 2000;25:70-5
  30. Wangensteen S, Johansson IS, Björkström ME, Nordström G. Critical thinking dispositions among newly graduated nurses. J Advan Nurs 2010;66:2170-81.
  31. Hulse, JL. Beliefs and practices of expert respiratory care faculty on critical- thinking learning: A case study (Doctoral dissertation); 2009. Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses. (UMI No. 3433246).
  32. Goodstone L, Goodstone MS, Cino K, Glaser CA, Kupferman K, Dember-Neal T. Effect of simulation on the development of critical thinking in associate degree nursing students. Nurs Educ Perspect 2013;34:159-62.
  33. Kaddoura MA. Critical thinking skills of nursing students in lecturebased teaching and case-based learning. Int J Scholar Teach Learn 2011;5, 20.
  34. Kong LN, Qin B, Zhou YQ, Mou SY, Gao HM. The effectiveness of problem-based learning on development of nursing students' critical thinking: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Int J Nurs Studies 2014;5:458-69.
  35. Kowalczyk N. Review of teaching methods and critical thinking skills. Radiol Technol 2011;83:120-32
  36. Raterink, G. Reflective journaling for critical thinking development in advanced practice registered nurse students. J Nurs Educ 2016;55:101-4.
  37. Cui C, Li Y, Geng D, Zhang H, Jin C The effectiveness of evidencebased nursing on development of nursing students' critical thinking: A meta-analysis. Nurs Educ Today 2018;65:46-53.
PDF Share
PDF Share

© Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.