Graduates from Jackson State Community College’s Respiratory Care Program achieved a 100 percent pass rate on the first part of their national credentialing exam on their road to become Registered Respiratory Therapists.
The exam administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care features two parts – the written Therapist Multiple Choice Exam and the Clinical Simulation exam. All 10 graduates passed the written exam on their first attempt – a first for Jackson State’s program.
Four students have taken and passed the second exam on their first attempt, and they have set up times to help the remaining students pass. Students must pass both exams to become Registered Respiratory Therapists.
“We are celebrating from the rooftops today,” said Cathy Garner, Respiratory Care Program Director. “When they all pass the CSE on the first attempt, we will be shouting it from the rooftops.”
Each student passed the first exam with a high enough score to make them eligible to take the second. That benchmark is a score of 92. Jackson State’s lowest score was 101; its highest was a school record of 126.
Jackson State launched its Respiratory Care Program in 2018 to fill a growing demand for respiratory therapists in West Tennessee and provide a new alternative for students pursuing a career in health care.
Respiratory therapists focus on patients with breathing difficulties, from newborns with underdeveloped lungs to elderly patients with a chronic disease like emphysema. There are many specialties respiratory therapists can pursue, such as critical care, home care, case management, pulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary diagnostics, sleep medicine, and surface and air transport. The work environment is often fast and fluid, Garner said.
“We work under the direction of a physician, and we provide an assessment of a patient to determine the kind of therapy a patient needs,” Garner said. “We focus on the cardiopulmonary system – any patient having any difficulties related to the lungs.”
Respiratory therapists work with mechanical ventilators and artificial airways, respond to code-blue resuscitative efforts, and treat patients from the front door of the hospital to the back, Garner said. Students who want to pursue a medical career but want an alternative to nursing should consider the program, she added.