Disciplines: Respiratory Therapy
Hours: 2 Contact Hours
Author(s): Bill Pruitt, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, FAARC
Peer Reviewer(s): Tammy A. Miller, MEd, RRT, CPFT
Item#: V7232
Contents: 1 Course Book (64 pages)

Protecting Patient Safety: Preventing Medical Errors for Respiratory Therapists

Price $19.95
Item # V7232
When available, the Online Course format is included with the hard copy, eBook, or audio book formats!

Patient safety practices are of crucial importance for all healthcare professionals. The Institute of Medicine’s groundbreaking 1999 document To Err is Human: Building a Safer Health System reported that medical errors were the cause of between 44,000 and 98,000 patient deaths each year. Physicians, nurses, and respiratory therapists are all involved with the care of these patients, and all have their own responsibilities in protecting the safety of patients.

Respiratory therapists are responsible for the assessment and treatment of patients with both acute and chronic cardiopulmonary conditions. Respiratory therapists are engaged in caring for patients in a wide array of health care settings including critical care units, emergency departments, general medical surgical areas, and home care environments. Respiratory therapists are also engaged in the care of patients representing all age groups, from the neonatal to geriatric populations. Respiratory therapists provide direct care to critically ill patients receiving mechanical ventilation. Due to the crucial nature of operating life-support equipment, competency in patient safety practices is of utmost importance to the respiratory therapist.

The purpose of this course is to present the concepts and issues related to patient safety and medical errors, as well as to explore the changes that are necessary for the development of a culture of safety. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) assesses the respiratory therapist’s knowledge of nationally recognized patient safety concepts as part of the credentialing exams. Patient safety concepts and practice standards are also recognized nationally as an essential content area in the respiratory care curricula among respiratory care training programs. However, there is also a need for a more coordinatedapproach to increase awareness, and to implement changes, in order to improve. Upon completion of this course, the participants will demonstrate an increased level of knowledge surrounding patient safety and medical errors. Secondly, the participants will be able to practically apply this knowledge in the clinical setting, thus promoting a culture of safety.

Florida - Fulfills your medical error requirement.

Pennsylvania & Tennessee -  Fulfills your patient safety requirement. 

Course Objectives


  • Define medical errors.
  • List the causes of medical errors.
  • Give at least two examples of medical errors.
  • Describe the process for reducing the occurrence of medical errors.
  • List at least one method for creating a culture of safety. 


Bill Pruitt, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, FAARC, is a respiratory therapist with more than 30 years of experience. He has been director of clinical education in the University of South Alabama’s Cardiorespiratory Sciences department for several years. Previously he was a senior instructor in the same department for 16 years. As an educator, Bill teaches about patient safety and the reduction of medical errors as part of all aspects of his courses. As a manager in RT, Bill worked to improve safety and reduce errors. As an author, he has written several articles covering such topics as risk, error, outcome, and safety. His writing has explored such topics as malignant hyperthermia, hemoptysis, sleep science, comorbid conditions, long-term weaning issues in mechanical ventilation, the transporting of ventilator patients, health effects of the Gulf oil spill, and the use of moderate sedation. He has also participated in his state’s planning project for disaster management. Bill received his BA from Georgia College and State University, studied with the University of Chicago’s advanced respiratory therapy program, and received an MBA from Brenau University in Gainesville, Georgia.

Tammy A. Miller, MEd, RRT, CPFT, has more than two decades of experience in respiratory care education and three decades of experience in clinical practice as a respiratory therapist. She is currently in the third and final year of the doctoral program in Industrial and Organizational (I/O) Psychology. Tammy is credentialed by the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) as a registered respiratory therapist (RRT) and certified pulmonary function technologist (CPFT). She is certified as an instructor by the American Heart Association in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Basic Life Support (BLS). She is also certified in Neonatal Resuscitation (NRP) by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Tammy was named instructor of the year at Southwest Georgia Technical College in 1994 and 2012. She served as a commissioner and site visitor on the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC). Tammy teaches all courses in the respiratory care curriculum, as well as basic anatomy and physiology at the technical college level. She has also taught medical terminology, introduction to health care, and general psychology.

  • Contact hours will be awarded for up to one (1) year from the date the course is ordered, unless otherwise indicated with an expiration date.
  • You must score 75% or higher on the final exam and complete the course evaluation to pass this course and receive a certificate of completion.
  • Through our review processes, Western Schools ensures that this course content is presented in a balanced, unbiased manner and is free from commercial influence. It is Western Schools’ policy not to accept commercial support.
  • All persons involved in the planning and development of this course have disclosed no relevant financial relationships or other conflicts of interest related to the course content.