By Rosanne Fohn
|Shown with the 2011 Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care are faculty members (left to right) Richard Wettstein, M.M.Ed., RRT, cTTS, director of clinical education and assistant professor; Helen Sorenson, M.S., RRT, FAARC, associate professor; Leo Wittnebel, M.S., RRT, assistant professor; Donna “De De” Gardner, M.S.H.P., RRT, FAARC, chair and associate professor; and Ruben Restrepo, M.D., RRT, FAARC, professor and advanced standing program director.
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The Department of Respiratory Care at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio was recognized July 13 for being among the top 8 percent of respiratory care programs in the United States.
Donna “De De” Gardner, M.S.H.P., RRT, FAARC, chair of the Department of Respiratory Care, accepted the 2011 Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) at its reception preceding the 2012 American Association of Respiratory Care Summer Forum in Santa Fe, N.M.
The recognition means the School of Health Professions program is one of the 32 recognized programs out of 444 programs in the nation, Gardner said.
“This honor demonstrates the dedication and commitment of our Department of Respiratory Care faculty, staff and students in working toward excellence,” said School of Health Professions Interim Dean Nita Wallace, Ph.D. “I am very proud of their work this past year to exceed the respiratory care accreditation standards and outcome measures required by their accrediting agency.”
Gardner added, “The Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) is the advanced-practitioner credential for respiratory therapists. CoARC views the RRT credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations.”
The Department of Respiratory Care went through the reaccreditation process in 2011 and received notification in February that it had exceeded the credentialing benchmarks. News of the national award was received in April.
The selection for the award was based on objective criteria involving key accreditation metrics that include:
- Producing specific data about student performance and outcomes for three or more years;
- Achieving accreditation without a progress report;
- Documenting that 90 percent or more of students achieved the RRT certification;
- Exceeding established thresholds for the Certified Respiratory Therapist designation;
- Having a low student attrition rate; and
- Showing positive job placement.
In 2012, 100 percent of respiratory care students passed the entry-level CRT exam and 91 percent who attempted the RRT exam earned that credential, as well. Nineteen of the 22 students were employed upon graduation.