Ferguson said her program also has a 100 percent job placement rate, and has maintained that statistic despite a fickle economy. “Every graduate who has wanted a job has gotten a job,” she said. “They would rather hire our grads than, quite often, people with experience, because they know what they’re getting from TCC. They get a well-rounded graduate who is able to merge into their departments and be a respiratory therapist and a professional.”
Ferguson believes the rigorous nature of the application and interview process, combined with an intense focus on honing sharp technological, clinical and decision-making skills, have contributed to her program’s continued success.
Students who want to pursue respiratory therapy must complete prerequisites with a minimum 3.0 GPA before admission into the two-year, six-semester associate degree program. Clinical rotations may begin after the first semester, but Ferguson and her faculty introduce their students to technology early.
“Our freshman students are in the simulation lab for a full clinical day every two weeks. They actually treat the high fidelity simulators as patients, so they go in individually and as groups and practice respiratory care, quite often in a higher risk environment,” Ferguson said. “In the simulation lab, we can make patients as sick as we want to. And we can allow students to learn and make decisions and learn critical thinking.
“We’ve worked really hard, and I’m very happy – now we just have to keep it up.”