Ashtabula Campus offers new health degree

Erin Orsini

Cleveland Clinic lobbied for Respiratory Therapy program to fill demand

The three-month old Robert S. Morrison Health and Science Building at Kent State’s Ashtabula campus is experiencing something new under its roof.

In spring 2010, the campus will offer a Respiratory Therapy Technology program that will be the first of its kind at Kent State.

Susan Stocker, dean of Kent State Ashtabula Campus, said the program will help with the needs of the community.

“We were contacted by the Cleveland Clinic main campus,” Stocker said. “They are expecting a shortage of respiratory therapists in the area, while the demand for this practice is rising.”

Before the campus could go ahead with plans of a new program, it had to receive a letter of review by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

After the committee gave officials at Ashtabula the go-ahead, planning of the program continued.

“Waiting for the approval stubbed the growth of the program, but we didn’t want to misrepresent it,” said David Goswick, respiratory therapy program director. “Now we are able to use commercials, radio and different advertisements to inform people of this program.”

The Internet, local newspapers and building tours for high school students are additional tactics the university is using to attract students to the Respiratory Therapy program.

Ashtabula officials are distributing brochures to Kent State’s other campuses, as well as establishing a presence at job expos to inform prospective students about the new program.

Applications for the program were due Oct. 15, but Goswick said the program is still accepting applications on a first-come, first-serve basis. He said the deadline of open admissions is Jan. 8 or until all 20 seats are filled.

Before students are admitted into the program, they must complete four job shadows in a small hospital and four hours in a large hospital that has at least 800 beds.

After filling out the application and completing the required shadow hours, applicants must sit down to review grades and discuss the expectations of the program with Goswick and Todd Arganti, director of clinical education. Students must have a minimum 2.75 GPA.

“It’s important to experience a little bit of what they’re going to get into,” Goswick said. “Our goal is to disclose all information about this program because this is not an easy curriculum.

“The Respiratory Therapy program covers so many aspects that you’re pulling from all different types of academia. It is a demanding field, but it’s also a very rewarding field because you get to save lives.”

Students must also fulfill the requirements of completed courses in algebra, biology and chemistry at the high school or college level.

Students who are accepted into the Respiratory Therapy program will get hands-on experience with the human simulator.

Arganti said the teaching tool will help students.

“Students will have the chance to gain experience prior to the time they get to their clinical site,” he said. “The human simulator is attached to a ventilator, where students can see the physiological changes on the screen. It gives students the opportunity to see how their patient would respond in real life.”

Oxygen levels can also change as a feature of the human simulator.

“We really want students to realize that this is not a job; it’s a profession,” Arganti said.

Contact regional campuses reporter Erin Orsini at [email protected]