Respiratory therapists have demanding responsibilities related to patient care and are a vital component of the health care team.
The respiratory therapy program at St. Clair County Community College uses an integration of classroom and practicum experiences in hospitals, outpatient testing facilities and physician offices.
Respiratory therapy is not the most popular choice in the healthcare field, but it’s one of the most important careers when it comes to taking care of critically ill patients.
“I teach at SC4 to educate, train, and produce competent, skilled and confident future respiratory therapists,” said instructor Tami Stafford. “With the implementation of the state-of-the-art clinical simulation lab, the students are able to experience real-life patient scenarios where they must critically think and are challenged to make clinical decisions based on a patient by patient case.”
This week, students took their classroom learning into the lab to complete a “Mock Code” patient care scenario. All students in the program must be certified in Basic Life Support and must be able to competently perform all skills needed in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The mock code scenario is a replica of a patient requiring CPR, which is directed and run by Dr. Michael Basha, SC4 Respiratory Therapy Medical Director.
“This scenario allows the students to apply the skills they have learned, understand the roles of everyone involved in this type of situation, including the physician, respiratory therapists and nurses,” said Stafford. Students are trained and must perform the procedure required for establishing an artificial airway, which includes clinical skills of bag-mask ventilation, intubation, securing the airway and assessing the patient. “This scenario brings it all together, so the students see how everyone works together as a team.”
Students graduating from the program receive an Associate in Applied Arts and Science degree and become eligible to take the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) credentialing examinations. With successful completion of the program, students can work in adult, pediatric and neonatal intensive care units, emergency rooms, labor and delivery, regular nursing floors, cardiopulmonary rehabilitation, diagnostic testing, and home care.
Once the students successfully complete this program, they will have over 1,000 hours of live clinical experience in a variety of hospital settings which gives them a well-rounded experience in all areas of the profession. “I love watching the students’ growth throughout the semesters and how they sometimes impress and surprise themselves by what they have learned and what they know how to do,” said Stafford.
This week is also recognized as National Respiratory Care Week. To show appreciation, students sent gift bags of full of individually wrapped “Lifesavers” to all the respiratory therapists and hospitals that support the SC4 Respiratory Therapy Program. Over 300 bags were made and distributed to respiratory therapists who work the front lines at Ascension St. John River District Hospital, Garden City Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, Lake Huron Medical Center, Marlette Regional Hospital, McLaren Macomb, McLaren Port Huron, and McKenzie Health System.
SC4 is a pioneer in health sciences education and offers a wide-array of in-demand program and certificate options. To learn more about the SC4 respiratory therapy program and other health sciences programs, visit our website at sc4.edu/health.