Nine 1996 graduates of Valley College's respiratory therapist program have passed a grueling national credentialing examination, giving the program a 100% pass rate, its highest since its inception 22 years ago.
The comprehensive exam--known as the Advanced Respiratory Care Practitioner Written Registry Examination--tested students on every aspect of pulmonary care, including physiology, patient care and ventilator systems, program director Virginia M. Ettinger said.
Nationwide, 4,295 students, including those from Valley College, took the test in December, achieving a national pass rate of 77.8%, Ettinger said. The examination is offered semiannually by the National Board for Respiration Care.
"The test results reaffirm that we have a fine program with high standards," Ettinger said, adding that the program received the California Community Colleges' 1995 award for Outstanding Occupational Program.
Although the comprehensive exam is not mandatory, as is the case with an entry-level state licensing examination, Ettinger said many students take the tougher examination to prepare themselves for careers in the highest levels of respiratory therapy.
Respiratory therapists work with patients whose cardiopulmonary system is compromised due to premature birth, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, emphysema, lung cancer, burns, surgery and other functional disorders, she said.