Respiratory Therapy

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The Respiratory Therapy curriculum prepares individuals to function as respiratory therapists. In these roles, individuals perform diagnostic testing, treatments, and management of patients with heart and lung diseases. Students will master skills in patient assessment and treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases. These skills include life support, monitoring, drug administration, and treatment of patients of all ages in a variety of settings.

Graduates of accredited programs may be eligible to take entry-level examinations from the National Board of Respiratory Care. Respiratory Therapy graduates may also take the Advanced Practitioner examination. Graduates may be employed in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, education, industry, and home care.

The AAS Degree Respiratory Therapy program at Wilkes Community College located in Wilkesboro, NC, program number 200544, is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (COARC).

Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care
264 Precision Blvd.
Telford, TN 37690
(817) 283-2835

CoARC accredits respiratory therapy education programs in the United States. To achieve this end, it utilizes an ‘outcomes 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.

Programmatic Outcomes Data

Learning Outcomes

  • Utilize critical thinking, diagnostic, and therapeutic skills to accurately assess the patient’s condition, develop a plan of care, and modify the treatment plan as needed so that safe and effective respiratory care is given.
  • Document completely and accurately using proper grammar and medical terminology.
  • Exhibit ethical, caring, and culturally competent behaviors toward patients and their family members.
  • Utilize professional communication and behavior when dealing with patients, their families, and other members of the healthcare team.

Job Outlook

Annual demand for Respiratory Care Therapy/Therapist in our service area is currently 245 job openings. This is expected to increase by 0.79% in the next year.

Contact Information

Image of Billy Woods
Billy Woods, MAEd,RCP,RRT,RRT-NPS
Dean-Health Sciences & Director-Respiratory Therapy
Phone: 336-838-6496
wdwoods000@wilkescc.edu

Pathways

Course Requirements

    First Year - Fall Semester
    • ACA 115 Success & Study Skills

      This course provides an orientation to the campus resources and academic skills necessary to achieve educational objectives. Emphasis is placed on an exploration of facilities and services, study skills, library skills, self-assessment, wellness, goal-setting, and critical thinking. Upon completion, students should be able to manage their learning experiences to successfully meet educational goals.

    • BIO 163 Basic Anat & Physiology

      This course provides a basic study of the structure and function of the human body. Topics include a basic study of the body systems as well as an introduction to homeostasis, cells, tissues, nutrition, acid-base balance, and electrolytes. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of the fundamental principles of anatomy and physiology and their interrelationships.

    • ENG 111 Writing and Inquiry

      This course is designed to develop the ability to produce clear writing in a variety of genres and formats using a recursive process. Emphasis includes inquiry, analysis, effective use of rhetorical strategies, thesis development, audience awareness, and revision. Upon completion, students should be able to produce unified, coherent, well-developed essays using standard written English.

    • RCP 110 Intro to Respiratory Care

      This course introduces the role of the respiratory care practitioner within interprofessional teams and interacting with diverse populations. Topics include medical gas administration, basic patient assessment, infection control, and medical terminology using proper written and oral communication methods to prepare students for clinical practice. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence in respiratory therapy concepts and procedures through written and laboratory evaluations.

    • RCP 113 RCP Pharmacology

      This course covers the drugs used in the treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases. Emphasis is placed on the uses, actions, indications, administration, and hazards of pharmacological agents. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence though written evaluations.

    First Year - Spring Semester
    • ENG 112 Writing/Research in the Disc

      This course, the second in a series of two, introduces research techniques, documentation styles, and writing strategies. Emphasis is placed on analyzing information and ideas and incorporating research findings into documented writing and research projects. Upon completion, students should be able to evaluate and synthesize information from primary and secondary sources using documentation appropriate to various disciplines.

    • PSY 150 General Psychology

      This course provides an overview of the scientific study of human behavior. Topics include history, methodology, biopsychology, sensation, perception, learning, motivation, cognition, abnormal behavior, personality theory, social psychology, and other relevant topics. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge of the science of psychology.

    • RCP 111 Therapeutics/Diagnostics

      This course provides emphasis on therapeutic and diagnostic procedures. Topics include applying problem solving strategies in the patient care setting, applying ethical principles in decision making, and practicing professional responsibilities, which will prepare students for clinical practice. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence in respiratory therapy concepts and procedures through written and laboratory evaluations.

    • RCP 115 C-P Pathophysiology

      This course introduces the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical signs and symptoms, diagnoses, prognoses, complications, and management of cardiopulmonary diseases. Emphasis is placed on developing, evaluating, and modifying respiratory care plans based on evidence-based medicine protocols and clinical practice guidelines. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence in cardio-pulmonary disease concepts through written evaluations.

    • RCP 135 RCP Clinical Practice I

      This course provides entry-level clinical experience. Emphasis is placed on therapeutic and diagnostic patient care. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate clinical competence in required performance evaluations.

    First Year - Summer Term
    • RCP 112 Patient Management

      This course provides entry-level skills in respiratory care procedures in acute and non-acute care settings. Emphasis is placed on therapeutic modalities and physiological effects, monitoring mechanical ventilation, and problem-solving strategies based on evidence-based medicine protocols and clinical practice guidelines. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence in respiratory therapy concepts and procedures through written and laboratory evaluations.

    • RCP 144 RCP Clinical Practice II

      This course provides entry-level clinical experience. Emphasis is placed on therapeutic and diagnostic patient care. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate clinical competence in required performance evaluations.

    Second Year - Fall Semester
    • PHI 240 Introduction to Ethics

      This course introduces theories about the nature and foundations of moral judgments and applications to contemporary moral issues. Emphasis is placed on moral theories such as consequentialism, deontology, and virtue ethics. Upon completion, students should be able to apply various ethical theories to moral issues such as abortion, capital punishment, poverty, war, terrorism, the treatment of animals, and issues arising from new technologies.

    • RCP 155 RCP Clinical Practice III

      This course provides entry-level clinical experience. Emphasis is placed on therapeutic and diagnostic patient care. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate clinical competence in required performance evaluations.

    • RCP 210 Critical Care Concepts

      This course provides further refinement of acute patient care and underlying pathophysiology. Topics include a continuation in the application and management of mechanical ventilation, assessment underlying pathophysiology, and introduction of critical care monitoring. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence in respiratory therapy concepts and procedures through written, laboratory and/or clinical simulation evaluations.

    • RCP 214 Neonatal/Peds RC .

      This course provides comprehensive coverage of the concepts of neonatal and pediatric respiratory care. Emphasis is placed on pathophysiology, patient assessment and special therapeutic needs of neonates and children based on evidence-based medicine protocols and clinical practice guidelines. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate competence in the neonatal and pediatric respiratory care concepts through written, laboratory and/or clinical simulation evaluations.

    Second Year - Spring Semester
    • COM 120 Intro Interpersonal Com

      This course introduces the practices and principles of interpersonal communication in both dyadic and group settings. Emphasis is placed on the communication process, perception, listening, self-disclosure, speech apprehension, ethics, nonverbal communication, conflict, power, and dysfunctional communication relationships. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate interpersonal communication skills, apply basic principles of group discussion, and manage conflict in interpersonal communication situations.

    • RCP 211 Adv Monitoring/Procedures

      This course includes advanced information gathering and decision making for the respiratory care professional using evidence-based respiratory care protocols. Topics include advanced cardiac monitoring, special procedures, respiratory care protocols, and disease management. Upon completion, students should be able to assess, recommend, and independently modify respiratory care protocols through written, laboratory and/or clinical simulation evaluations.

    • RCP 215 Career Preparation

      This course provides an overview of respiratory therapy concepts in preparation for credentialing exam. Emphasis is placed on registry preparation. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of respiratory therapy and be prepared for successful completion of the credentialing process.

    • RCP 237 RCP Clinical Practice IV

      This course provides advanced practitioner clinical experience. Emphasis is placed on therapeutic and diagnostic patient care. Upon completion, students should be able to demonstrate clinical competence in required performance evaluations.

    Technical Standards

    The Respiratory Therapy program technical standards have been developed to inform students of the nonacademic essential functions of the program and profession. Examples are not all inclusive.

    Standard Essential Function Examples
    Communication
    Oral / Written
    • Skills sufficient to communicate information and ideas so others will understand
    • Skills sufficient to interact with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds
    • Document relevant patient information (manual or via computer) using correct terminology and spelling
    • Interpret doctor’s orders
    • Record patient responses to treatments
    • Establish rapport with patients, families, and other health care providers
    Mobility / Motor Skills
    • Motor skills sufficient to move the hands and use hands to grasp or manipulate objects
    • Mobility sufficient to perform physical activities that require considerable use of arms and legs and moving the whole body
    • Mobility sufficient to perform physical activities that require dexterity and flexibility to move body in a variety of positions
    • Utilize instruments with patients
    • Move around in patients’ rooms and treatment areas
    • Maneuver in confined spaces
    • Physical activities may include:
      • Bending
      • Stooping
      • Lifting
      • Reaching
    Physical Strength and Stamina
    • Ability to stand for extended periods of time
    • Ability sufficient to lift and carry up to 30 pounds
    • Stand and walk up to 12-hour shifts
    • Lift and/or maneuver patients
    • Lift and move equipment such as gas cylinders
    Sensory

    • Sight
    • Sound
    • Taste
    • Touch
    • Smell
    • Visual skills sufficient to see details at close range and manipulate equipment
    • Listening skills sufficient to communicate with others
    • Identify various sounds
    • Ability to touch and locate anatomy on patients to perform physical assessments
    • Ability to tolerate various odors
    • Observe patient responses to treatment
    • Hear equipment/emergency alarms, call bell, or call for help
    • Listen to heart, lung, and blood pressure sounds
    • Feel for pulse
    • Work with patients with poor hygiene
    Environmental / Occupational Exposure
    • Frequent exposure to communicable and infectious diseases, secretions, blood, and bodily fluids
    • Exposure to environmental hazards
    • Ability to work under high stress situations and respond promptly
    • Possible exposure to HIV, hepatitis, etc.
    • Exposure to X-ray radiation, medicinal preparations, latex, and toxic substances
    • Respond appropriately in emergency to maintain patient safety and care
    Field or Industry Professional Standards
    • Criminal background check
    • CPR certification

    Disability Services Statement

    Wilkes Community College is an ADA compliant institution. WCC does not discriminate based on a disability in the admissions process or in access to its programs, services, and/or activities for qualified individuals who meet eligibility requirements. WCC will provide reasonable accommodations for individuals with documented disabilities who are eligible to receive or participate in college programs, services, and/or activities. If a student believes that he/she cannot meet one or more of a program’s essential functions without accommodations, the student is encouraged to disclose this to Disability Services as soon as possible.

    2+2 Information

    A 2+2* agreement is an opportunity for students to complete their Associate's degree at Wilkes Community College and then transfer into a specified program at a partnering four-year institution for their Bachelor's degree. Wilkes Community College has the following 2+2 agreements for our Respiratory Therapy graduates:

    * The 2+2 model is the proposed timeframe, but may be subject to change.

    Admissions Information