Lacy Patnoe, Program Director
Department of Allied and Population Health
Monument Health, Rapid City
Respiratory Care is the health care discipline that specializes in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health. Respiratory Therapists use science and technology to assess, treat, and manage care by use of diagnostic evaluation for patients with respiratory illnesses which would include the cardiac system. Knowledge of the scientific principles underlying cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, as well as biomedical engineering and technology, enable respiratory therapists to effectively assess, educate, and treat patients. Respiratory Therapists use technology in the education of patients about their disease and prevention of disease progression.
As a health care profession, Respiratory Care is practiced under medical direction across the health care continuum. Respiratory Care is specifically focused on the assessment, treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation, education, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system as well as on the prevention of the development of these deficiencies. Critical thinking, patient/environment assessment skills, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines enable respiratory therapists to develop and implement effective care plans, patient-driven protocols, disease-based clinical pathways, and disease management programs. A variety of venues serve as the practice site for this health care profession including, but not limited to: acute care hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, rehabilitation and skilled nursing facilities, patients’ homes, patient transport systems, physician office, convalescent and retirement centers, educational institutions, and wellness centers.
The respiratory care programs at South Dakota State University (SDSU) are designed as either an associate or bachelor’s degree in respiratory care. The first fall and spring semesters of the A.S. program are spent on a university campus completing general education requirements. After the first year’s classes are completed, the student has class and clinical experiences at the primary clinical affiliate hospitals (Avera McKennan and Sanford Hospitals in Sioux Falls or Monument Health Rapid City). Following completion of the A.S. portion, students can complete the B.S. degree (third and fourth year).
The field of respiratory care provides excellent opportunities for those interested in a dynamic and exciting career in cardiopulmonary sciences. Salaries for respiratory therapists are excellent and compare favorably with other allied health fields. Job opportunities for new graduates are also very good. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the respiratory care profession is expected to add almost 15,000 new jobs between now and 2024, increasing the size of the profession by 12 percent and making RC one of the fastest growing occupations. This increase in demand is expected because of substantial growth of the elderly population, and increases in the numbers of patients with asthma and chronic lung disease.
Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the A.S. and B.S. degree in Respiratory Care, students will:
- Be aware of acceptable attrition and retention rates.
- Have confidence in acceptable positive job placement.
- Achieve an acceptable score on the Comprehensive Written RRT Self-Assessment Exam (CWRRT SAE) prior to graduation from the AS program.
- Achieve the NBRC Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential prior to graduation from the BS program.
- Achieve acceptable credentialing success on the NBRC Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) Exam.
- Achieve acceptable credentialing success on the NBRC Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Exam.
- Demonstrate overall satisfaction on the graduate surveys.
- Achieve a satisfactory rate of participation on the graduate surveys.
Satisfactory academic progress is defined as:
- A final grade of at least “C” in each course in the program curriculum and an overall GPA of at least 2.60 on a 4.00 scale.
- If a student obtains an unsatisfactory final grade (D or F) in any class in the program curriculum and repeats it, the grade in which repeated class must be at least a “B”. Any general education course in the respiratory care curriculum may be repeated more than once, but the final grade must be at least a “B”.
- RESP prefix courses may be repeated only once to remove any unsatisfactory grade.
Individual course syllabi give details on grade determination, content, and requirements for each course.
Accreditation, Certification, and Licensure
The Respiratory Care program holds continuing accreditation with the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (www.coarc.com), with the main clinical location in Sioux Falls (CoARC program number 200070) and a satellite location in Rapid City (CoARC program number 300015).
CoARC is the organization that accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcome-based’ process. Programmatic outcomes are performance indicators that reflect the extent to which the educational goals of the program are achieved and by which program effectiveness is documented.
Immediately upon graduation from the A.S. program, you are eligible to take the credentialing examination of the National Board of Respiratory Care to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist. This credential allows you to obtain a license to work.
Course Delivery Format
Courses are delivered through lecture, discussion, laboratory, and clinical practice experiences.