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RT Program Celebrates Respiratory Care Week

November 2022
  • Respiratory Care Week was October 23-29.
    Respiratory Care Week was October 23-29.

Quinsigamond Community College’s Respiratory Care program is doing its part to give a new generation of respiratory therapists the essential skills needed to provide respiratory care. 

“Respiratory therapists play a vital role as part of the healthcare team. As cardiopulmonary specialists, they provide services for patients from the first breath they take in the delivery room, to the last breath they take, and the many breaths in between,” said Amy Hogan, associate professor of Respiratory Therapy. “We help people breathe better by administering medications, providing therapies, and using sophisticated breathing equipment to help sustain life.”

This year marks the 40th Anniversary of Respiratory Care Week, established in 1982 by then President Ronald Regan, in addition to the profession turning 75 years old. QCC’s Respiratory Care program was established in 1967 and is the oldest respiratory program in Massachusetts.

“All of our students are taking classes in person and are getting frontline exposure to patients who are struggling to take a breath... this includes COVID-19 patients. Our students get hands-on experience in both the lab and clinical setting learning how to care for the sickest and most vulnerable of patients,” said QCC’s Respiratory Care Program Director Keith Hirst.

In 2021 and again in 2022, QCC’s Respiratory Care program received the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Credentialing Success Award for having over 90% of their graduates pass and obtain the RRT credential over the past 3 years, and for meeting on-going programmatic thresholds as set forth by CoARC. QCC is one of a handful of associate degree programs that have received this award. 

“This award speaks to the quality of the program and the outstanding job that the academic and clinical faculty have done in preparing the students to be successful not only in their board exams but also in their future employment,” Hirst said.

QCC’s respiratory therapists are involved with telehealth, patient education, disease management, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (a form of cardiopulmonary bypass), and pulmonary rehabilitation, as well as being more involved with the management of the patient.

Hirst noted that, As the U.S. population ages, so too will an increased incidence of respiratory conditions, thus leading to an increased demand for respiratory therapy services. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of respiratory therapists is projected to grow 23% from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the 8% average growth rate of all occupations, with a current national average base salary of $60,000. Recently, US World News and Report listed Respiratory Therapy as the #6 Health Care Profession Job and #16 overall in their Top 100 jobs. 

“This makes QCC’s program vital not only for the Worcester area but also for Massachusetts as a whole,” Hirst said.

For more information on QCC’s Respiratory Care program visit www.QCC.edu/respiratory-care or email the Respiratory Care program at respiratorycare [at] qcc.mass.edu.

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