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PORTSMOUTH-Shawnee State University’s Director of the Respiratory Therapy program, Amy France, wants students majoring in her program to be prepared for a field with high demand for expertise. Throughout their time in the degree, she helps her students work toward exceptional performance.

“It matters less if you get a C on this test or an A on this test than it does to ask ‘do you know your stuff, and are you prepared’.

” she said.

Working at SSU for over 15 years, France graduated from the university’s Respiratory Therapy program in 2001. For the past twelve years, she has been the director of the program and has been encouraged to grow the visibility of the career to meet the current demands within the field.

“Just in the state of Ohio we are deficient 800-900 Respiratory Therapists,” she said.

The five-year program at SSU combines classroom, laboratory, and clinical educational experiences. SSU graduates have found careers with hospitals, private practice physicians, sleep disorder centers, health care research institutions, home health care agencies, retirement centers, and many more. Trying to meet the demand in the field, France has witnessed her graduating class recruited for jobs while they are still completing their degree.

“They’re being pursued constantly by hospitals like Ohio State, Southern Ohio Medical Center, King’s Daughters, University of Cincinnati, Mount Carmel – all of these places are coming here and saying ‘Hey, we want you.’,” she said.

The SSU Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. France encourages incoming students to explore the career field, especially as the demand for new therapists increases.

“Shadow and see what a therapist does,” she advised. “Some people fall in love and others don’t. If you get a look in the day in the life of a Respiratory Therapist, you’re going to find out if it’s something you love or not.”

To learn more about the Respiratory Therapy program at Shawnee State University, visit www.shawnee.edu/respiratory-therapy.

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