Exploring knowledge gaps and research needs in respiratory therapy: a qualitative description study Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • Background Respiratory therapists (RTs) are expected to stay updated on technology, treatments, research, and best practices to provide high-quality patient care. They must possess the skills to interpret, evaluate, and contribute to evidence-based practices. However, RTs often rely on research from other professions that may not fully address their specific needs, leading to insufficient guidance for their practice. Additionally, there has been no exploration of knowledge gaps and research needs from RTs’ perspectives to enhance their practice and patient outcomes. The research questions guiding this study were: (i) what are the perceived practice-oriented knowledge gaps? and (ii) what are the necessary research priorities across the respiratory therapy profession according to experts in respiratory therapy? Methods A qualitative description study was conducted using semi-structured focus groups with 40 expert RTs from seven areas of practice across Canada. Data was analyzed using qualitative content analysis. Results We identified four major themes relating to what these experts perceive as the practice-oriented gaps and necessary research priorities across the respiratory therapy profession: 1) system-level impact of RTs, 2) optimizing respiratory therapy practices, 3) scholarship on the respiratory therapy profession and 4) respiratory therapy education. Discussion The findings establish a fundamental understanding of the current gaps and the specific needs of RTs that require further investigation. Participants strongly emphasized the significance of research priorities that consider the breadth and depth of the respiratory therapy profession, which underscores the complex nature of respiratory therapy and its application in practice. Conclusion The unique insights garnered from this study highlight the knowledge gaps and research needs specific to RTs. These findings pave the way for further exploration, discourse, and research aimed at understanding the specific contributions and requirements of RTs.


  • Zaccagnini, Marco
  • West, Andrew
  • Khor, Esther
  • Quach, Shirley
  • Nonoyama, Mika L

publication date

  • 2024