Respiratory Care program recognized for producing high-achieving graduates

PBSC Respiratory Care students
PBSC Respiratory Care students perform an intubation procedure in the College’s lab. One of the fastest growing health care professions, respiratory therapists provide therapeutic and diagnostic services to treat chronic and life-threatening breathing disorders.

Palm Beach State College’s Respiratory Care Associate in Science degree program is now part of a select group honored for achieving exceptional outcomes in educating future respiratory therapists. The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care chose PBSC’s program, along with 61 others nationwide, to receive the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award for 2015.

CoARC, a nonprofit accreditation organization dedicated to respiratory care, assures the academic quality of degree-granting programs through a rigorous peer review process. Graduates of the more than 400 CoARC-accredited programs in the U.S. are eligible to take the profession’s national credentialing exam administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care, and upon passing, become registered respiratory therapists. The Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award, now in its fifth year, is presented as part of CoARC’s efforts to value the RRT credential as a standard of professional achievement.

Schools selected for the award must have three or more years of outcomes data showing an average RRT exam pass rate of 90 percent or above. PBSC’s Respiratory Care program has met this high standard as well as all other award criteria, including meeting or exceeding thresholds for student retention, job placement and satisfaction rates of graduates and employers.

“This is a very prestigious recognition by our accrediting body,” says Nancy Latimer, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Respiratory Care program. “Our students are trained to become medical professionals who will deal with life and death situations in the hospital daily. The award also brings great credit to the dedication of our faculty. Together we teach the students the critical thinking skills necessary to pass the RRT exam and to excel in the field of respiratory care.”

Palm Beach State’s Respiratory Care program was the first two-year degree program of its kind in Palm Beach County when it began in 1989, and its first director of clinical education, Edward W. Willey is now dean of academic affairs for the Palm Beach Gardens campus, where the program resides. Willey cites the contribution of the program’s advisory board members, many of whom were his students and are now in management positions at Palm Beach County hospitals.

“Our active community partners offer their experience to students and say ‘if you do well, this is what’s possible,’” says Willey. “They provide excellent clinical internships for our students, which in turn shows in our pass rates and job placement….You want students to complete, pass their boards and be placed in their field, and this program does an excellent job of that.”

The Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award will be formally presented to all selected programs this July at the American Association for Respiratory Care Summer Forum in Phoenix.

In addition to its CoARC accreditation, PBSC’s program is recognized by the American Medical Association.

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