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Just Breathe

Respiratory therapists play a crucial role in the lives of patients who have difficult breathing due to a myriad of factors from development issues to lung disease and more. 

Respiratory Care

Respiratory therapists help patients who have difficulty breathing.

From premature infants whose lungs are underdeveloped, to older adults with chronic conditions or lung disease, respiratory therapists treat a wide variety of patients. 

As a respiratory care student, you will:

  • Take courses online
  • Experience hands-on learning at a clinical facility during your program
  • Come to our MA campus for 5 days (Wed-Sun 8 hours per day) of clinical boot camp each semester for the Respiratory Care Procedures Classes I-IV (4 semesters)
  • Become part of a healthcare team, treating and caring for patients with cardiopulmonary diseases and disorders
  • Become qualified to take the Therapist Multiple Choice (TCM) exam, which determines your eligibility for the Clinical Simulation Examination (CSE) used to qualify for both Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) and RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist). 

In-demand career

A person cannot survive more than a few minutes without oxygen, so it's no surprise that respiratory therapists play a critical role in healthcare by helping people breathe. 

Not only do respiratory therapists help treat chronic respiratory conditions like asthma and COPD, but they're also seeing an increase in patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome - a condition that can happen as a result of COVID-19. 

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment of respiratory therapists will grow 23% between 2020 and 2030, which is much faster than average. That's 10,100 job openings projected each year. 

Respiratory Care Stats
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million people suffer from asthma - one of the most common chronic respiratory diseases (WHO)

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projected growth in respiratory therapy jobs between 2020 - 2030

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job openings each year are predicted in respiratory therapy through 2030

pulmonary function test

A Respiratory Care technician performs a pulmonary function test on a patient. 

What does a respiratory therapist do?

Respiratory therapists can work in emergency rooms, intensive care units, nursing homes, outpatient clinics, and even sleep centers. They work closely with doctors and other healthcare team members to evaluate and treat patients - this may include administering pulmonary function tests or taking blood samples to analyze oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. Testing and treatments vary depending on the type and severity of the patient's condition.

You may be familiar with some of the more common breathing or airway problems, like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)bronchitis, cystic fibrosis, and even sleep apnea. More recently, you may have heard of acute respiratory distress syndrome - a condition that can occur after illness or injury. This serious condition is on the rise in patients who have been diagnosed with COVID-19. Respiratory therapists also work with patients who have suffered injuries or trauma to their lungs and airways. 

Respiratory therapists have often been considered one of the best-kept secrets in healthcare, owing to the remarkable value they provide despite their relatively low profile. But as healthcare begins to integrate the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic, that profile will inevitably grow."

-Michael Hess, BS, RRT, RPFT

Meet the Program Director

Sharon Southwick, BS, RRT

Sharon SouthwickSharon has over 25 years of respiratory care experience and earned her bachelor's degree in business management from Bridgewater State University. Sharon has experience in critical care, clinical and didactic instruction, pulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary function tests, neonates, and ECMO. She has worked at South Shore Healthcare, Massasoit Community College, Boston Medical Center, and Massachusetts General Hospital. Sharon also is a board member and previous president of the Massachusetts Society of Respiratory Care.

Accreditation, Clinical Sites, Goals, and Learning Outcomes

The Associate of Science in Respiratory Care program (CoARC 200654) at Labouré College of Healthcare in Milton, Massachusetts holds Provisional Accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com).

This status signifies that a program with an Approval of Intent has demonstrated sufficient compliance with the Standards (through submission of an acceptable Provisional Accreditation Self-Study Report (PSSR) and any other documentation required by the CoARC, as well as satisfactory completion of an initial on-site visit) to be allowed to admit students. It is recognized as an accredited program by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), which provides enrolled students who complete the program with eligibility for the Respiratory Care Credentialing Examination(s). The program will remain on Provisional Accreditation until it achieves Continuing Accreditation. 

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care, 264 Precision Blvd, Telford, TN 37690. Website: http://coarc.com/ 

As the College launches the respiratory care program for Spring 2023, we will be updating our list of clinical partnerships and potential clinical sites around the United States. 

Clinical affiliations for respiratory care may include: 

  • Asante Three Rivers Medical Center, Grants Pass OR
  • Baystate Nobel Hospital, Westfield MA
  • Boston Children's Hospital, Boston MA
  • Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital, Boston MA
  • Heywood Healthcare, Gardner MA
  • Holy Family Hospital, Methuen MA
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston MA
  • Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Boston MA
  • Timpanogos Regional Hospital, Orem UT
  • To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs).
  • To prepare graduates to obtain the RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential.
  • To prepare graduates to obtain gainful employment as a Licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP)

Upon completion of the program, graduates will be able to:

  1. Exhibit professional behaviors consistent with the respiratory care code of ethics, ethical obligations, and professional conduct.

  2. Apply critical thinking, problem-solving, time management, interpersonal communication, and technical skills necessary to provide competent patient-centered respiratory care in multidisciplinary care settings for patients of all ages.

  3. Illustrate the understanding and application of physical principles of gas and fluid dynamics.

  4. Understand the concepts of anatomy and physiology of the cardiac and pulmonary systems and the mechanisms of homeostatic control for acid/base balance ventilation, gas transport, and circulation for patients of all ages.

  5. Identify the correct application for the implementation, monitoring, troubleshooting, evaluation, and strategies for discontinuing preferred therapeutic modalities employed in respiratory therapy such as gas, humidity, bland, and medicated aerosol therapies, passive hyperinflation, chest physiotherapy, postural drainage, airway clearance and management techniques, non-invasive and invasive ventilation strategies for patients of all ages.

  6. Interpret the concepts and techniques of patient assessment with inspection, palpation, percussion, and auscultation, patient interviews and physical examination, arterial blood gas sampling, and analysis, basic pulmonary and sleep diagnostics, electrocardiography, imaging, and laboratory diagnostic testing for patients of all ages.

  7. Illustrate competency in the initiation and maintenance of artificial airways.

  8. Classify and explain the indications, contraindications, hazards, and routes of administration and correct dosages for all classes of respiratory drugs for patients of all ages.

  9. Differentiate the etiology, clinical manifestations, and diagnostic and therapeutic properties of the diseases and conditions of cardiopulmonary patients of all ages.

  10. Complete essential competencies in the sub-acute care setting. 

  11. Identify the roles and responsibilities of respiratory therapists in alternate care sites (i.e., pulmonary and sleep diagnostics, rehabilitation, and home care settings).

  12. Apply the ability to inspect, clean, test, and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently.

To become accredited by CoARC, a program must meet CoARC's outcomes thresholds. 

To view CoARC's outcomes thresholds, please visit https://coarc.com/accreditation/coarc-outcomes-thresholds/



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