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San Joaquin Valley College Blog

Four SJVC California Respiratory Therapy programs earn national award

June 4, 2018

SJVC-Respiratory-Therapy-studentsThe Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) recently notified SJVC’s Rancho Cordova, Bakersfield, Ontario and Temecula campuses that their Respiratory Therapy programs would receive the Distinguished Registered Respiratory Therapy Credentialing Success Award. Only about 20% of the 443 Respiratory Therapy programs nationwide (38 of which are in California) earn this recognition.

“The CoARC Board evaluates key accreditation metrics documented in the 2017 annual Report of Current Status (RCS),” says Greg Osborn, SJVC’s Director of Program Compliance. To earn this award, “Respiratory Therapy programs are required to 1) have 3 or more years of outcomes data, 2) hold accreditation without a progress report, 3) document Registered Respiratory Therapy credentialing success of 90% or above, 4) meet or exceed established CoARC thresholds for Certified Respiratory Therapy credentialing success, retention, on-time graduation rate and overall employer and graduate satisfaction.”

It has long been a requirement for SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy program students to secure licensure. “California is leading the charge to up the requirement for students to take both the Certification and Registered Respiratory Therapy exams,” says Osborn. “Our new standard is to accept nothing less than that end-result for our students upon completion of the program. We want them to have that expectation.”

This award from CoARC reflects the commitment, training and focus SJVC places on preparing Respiratory Therapy students for this outcome.

Potential employers in the Respiratory Care community place a value on both career training programs and their graduates who meet the standards of this commission. “The employers who hire the graduates know there will be less work up-front in transitioning these new-hires in to the workplace,” says Shane Keene, Associate Executive Director for the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

Rancho Cordova campus receives the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award for third year in a row

This is the third consecutive year the Rancho Cordova Respiratory Therapy program has received this prestigious award.

“This is a difficult status to achieve,” says Jeff Rutherford, Respiratory Therapy Program Director. “In order to be considered for this award, we have to not only meet or exceed all of the four standards, 90% or more of our students have to achieve Registered credential success.”

Since December 2015, California requires Respiratory Therapists to become registered to be able to work in the field within the state.

SJVC instructors spend a lot of time with students to make sure they are well prepared to take the exam for registration. “We take what we do seriously because we want our students and graduates to be successful,” says Rutherford.

Many graduates come back to the campus months or even years later to voice their appreciation for the depth and breadth of education they were given at SJVC, Rutherford says. They have a better understanding of the demands of their profession and the justification for such a high bar the College set for them.

“This award is kind of a big deal for SJVC – and for my campus,” says Rutherford. “This recognition is not just important to consumers, but important to the health care industry that we serve.”

RRT Credentialing Success Award is second for Bakersfield campus

Bakersfield’s Respiratory Therapy program brought home its second win this year and plans to keep them coming. “We are always improving and making changes to meet the students’ needs,” says Larry Romero, Respiratory Therapy Acting Program Director.

“For me, this award means we are giving our students the best possible chance to succeed in their field,” says Romero. “We want them to be employed and work in their field and be great Respiratory Therapists.”

This recognition of the Respiratory Therapy program and its students gives current students a confidence boost in their program. It also sends an important message to those researching education and training programs in this field. Potential Respiratory Therapy students can track program recognition, awards and criteria, and find evidence of great accomplishments by SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy programs.

“While this award is about our program, we couldn’t do it without the students’ passing their tests,” says Zachary Ruff, Respiratory Therapy instructor. “As much as it is our award, it is also our students’ award.”

This recognition carries a lot of meaning. “It means program confidence, pride, job search enhancement; it also means that our students are getting the instruction they need and proves we are doing our job,” says Ruff.

Ontario and Temecula campuses earn their first RRT Credentialing Success Awards

It was a well-deserved first win for the Ontario campus. “This award is going on my door,” enthuses Lea Endress, Director of Clinical Education for the Respiratory Therapy program. No one takes this accomplishment lightly.

“Students can’t walk through my door without seeing it, and it will tell them that what we give them is exactly what they signed up for.”

Endress sees this accolade as icing on an already sweet cake. “Students in our Respiratory Therapy program get an A.S. (Associate) degree, a RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist) credential and a RCP (Respiratory Care Practitioner) license,” he says. “They get all three of these things when they complete their program.”

Students also get the benefit of their instructors having worked in their field of study. They are taught professional development points, along with the practical skills of their professions. They learn to communicate effectively with co-workers and patients, the importance of punctuality and proper attire, along with softer skills like empathy and active listening.

“An employer might say, ‘I’ve got a hundred people wanting this job; why should I say ‘yes’ to you,’” says Endress. He helps students hone and define their worth so that they are prepared to stand out to an employer and answer those probing questions with calm assurance.

The very first year Temecula’s Respiratory Therapy program was eligible for the CoARC award, they brought it home. “Going into it, I was pretty confident in receiving this award,” says Tanner Bliss, Respiratory Therapy Program Director. “This award means we are serving the community in the way an institution should, and that we are providing students with the tools needed to obtain their dream career.”

This recognition from CoARC puts the Temecula Respiratory Therapy program on the map. “There is a lot of competition locally with Respiratory Therapy schools, and some of the more established ones have deep-rooted reputations that make it difficult to break in,” says Bliss. “They can’t say that we don’t know what we’re doing now!”

SJVC’s Respiratory Therapy program is all about the students – and the instructors who support them every step of the way. “Students see that we put in the extra effort to get them to that point of being able to pass the Clinical Simulation Exam for the RRT,” says Bliss. “Instructors spend long hours getting our students to that point. Lots of credit goes to them because they don’t stop with mediocre results. They push their students to be the best.”

The Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care recognizes and praises programs that give their students and graduates such strong footing in their new professions. For graduates of Respiratory Therapy programs that have earned this award, “it is a point of pride and a point to highlight on their resumes,” says Shane Keene, speaking as a CoARC representative.