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Degrees, Certificates & Minors

Essential Skills

A candidate for graduation from the Respiratory Care Program must demonstrate the skills and abilities required to function as a Respiratory Care Practitioner (RCP) and provide for patient safety. These skills and abilities have been defined by the national credentialing organization, The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC). The following is a representative list of these essential skills, with or without accommodation, expected of students enrolled in the Respiratory Care program.

  1. Communication Skills
    • Effective English verbal communication with patients, physicians, RCP's, nurses and other heath professionals.
      For example:
      • report on patient progress/status
      • discuss patient care plans and make recommendations for change
      • instruct patients for therapy/patient education
    • Effective, legibly written communication.
      For example:
      • write progress notes in the patients medical record.
      • document patient data on flow sheets and charts (entering numbers in small boxes on department forms)
      • write patient care plans, case studies and reports
    • Basic Computer Skills.
      For example:
      • Data entry pertaining to patient therapy
      • Order entry for department management

  2. Conceptual and Analytical Reasoning
    • Apply didactic knowledge effectively in the clinical setting.
      For example:
      • Recognize potential adverse effects of therapy and respond with the appropriate intervention(s)
    • Demonstrate ability to recommend appropriate changes in prescribed therapy based on the patient assessment process
    • Exercise good judgment in problem solving

  3. Social Skills
    • Perform job duties effectively under stress
    • Display flexibility and a cooperative attitude
    • Willingly accept constructive criticism and modify behavior appropriately

  4. Manual Dexterity and Motor Skills
    • Demonstrate the ability to maintain aseptic and sterile techniques
      For example:
      • Scrub hands; don gloves, gown and mask
    • Demonstrate the ability to maintain aseptic technique while performing respiratory care procedures
      For example:
      • Endotracheal auctioning
      • Arterial blood sampling
    • Adjust/fine tune analog, digital and computer-based controls on electrical equipment.
      For example:
      • Mechanical ventilators
      • Pulmonary function measuring devices
    • Attach and safely manipulate pressurized medical gas devices
      For example:
      • Oxygen cylinder regulators
      • Flowmeters
      • High pressure hoses
    • Perform diagnostic and therapeutic percussion techniques

  5. Other Physical Skills
    • Stand and walk for extended periods of time
    • Physically support an adult patient in a pivot transfer
    • Lift an adult in a two-person lift
    • Lift objects up to 30 pounds
      For example:
      • oxygen cylinders up to size "E"
    • Carry out emergency procedures such as CPR and patient evacuation

  6. Observation and sensory skills
    • Demonstrate appropriate visual acuity
      For example:
      • Accurately interpret analog and digital gauges, monitors and pressure manometers
      • Perform assessment of the patient (skin color, posture, work of breathing, etc.)
      • Calibrate monitoring devices (pulmonary function measuring devices)
    • Demonstrate appropriate auditory acuity
      • Recognize and respond to alarms (mechanical ventilators, heart monitors)
      • Use a stethoscope for chest auscultation (lung sounds) and blood pressure measurement