The certified asthma educator: The United States experience

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Pediatric, Allergy, Immunology, and Pulmonology


Asthma is responsible for significant healthcare costs in the United States. Although advances in pharmacology and environmental science have provided many opportunities to improve asthma control, asthma remains a major cause of missed school days, acute care visits, and hospitalizations. Patient education is a key component of asthma care. The National Asthma Educator Certification Board was established in February 2000 and charged with the mission of "promoting optimal asthma management and quality of life for individuals with asthma, their families and communities by advancing excellence in asthma education through the certified asthma educator process." This study was performed to describe the workforce of certified asthma educators (AE-Cs®) by surveying a sample of educators who completed the recertification process. AE-Cs® who had completed the recertification process were invited to participate in an anonymous online survey. Sixty five of 135 (48%) recertificants completed the survey. The primary training of respondents was in respiratory therapy (51.6%) and nursing (42.2%). Respondents were primarily female (92.3%) and Caucasian (95.4%). The majority worked in specialty care outpatient (59.3%) or hospital inpatient (40.7%) settings. Twenty percent reported an increase in job responsibilities as a result of achieving their initial certification as an AE-C®. Most AE-Cs® have their basic training in either respiratory therapy or nursing. The workforce of AE-Cs® does not reflect the racial or ethnic percentages seen in the asthma population in the United States. More educators are needed to serve the growing numbers of individuals with asthma. Achievement of certification as an AE-C® resulted in additional job responsibilities in 20% of survey respondents. © 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. 2011.

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