Program Overview

The Master of Science in Respiratory Care curriculum has been developed to produce leaders and consultants in respiratory care. The online Master of Science in Respiratory Care (MSRC) is a 37-credit plan of study over two years that would prepare baccalaureate level working Respiratory Therapists with the knowledge and competencies necessary to become experts in Respiratory Care leadership, education, research and to achieve advanced clinical credentials. Graduates of the online MSRC will fill the need for educators, researchers, leaders, and advanced clinical practitioners

Respiratory Therapy (RT) has become more complex over the past 20 years and requires that Respiratory Therapists have a greater breadth and depth of knowledge. Respiratory therapists need the ability to communicate more effectively in the inter-professional care team and serve as consultants in the delivery of respiratory support in the clinical environment. These expanded roles and expectations have led the American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) to examine the future educational needs of the bedside respiratory therapist. A graduate degree has already become the norm for managers of large RT departments in North Carolina. As entry level education moves to the bachelor’s level, there will be greater demand for respiratory therapists with master’s degrees to teach in those programs.

Student Learning Outcomes

The MSRC Program has 5 major student learning objectives (SLOs) that are evaluated and reported to the Chairman of the Kinesiology Department and the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services

Concepts behind each SLO are introduced to the student through course materials and assignments then developed further in subsequent course material, and then assessed by a direct measure, which demonstrates the student's mastery of the competency. The introduction, development and assessment of an SLO can span several courses and will be highlighted in the syllabi of those courses.

Performance by students (usually on assignments or exams) is the objective evidence, and we use the Graduate Exit Survey to assess subjective graduate opinion on how the program has performed. Student Learning Objectives have been designed to address the core objectives of the program and are as follows:

  1. SLO #1 (Knowledge) You will apply knowledge of pulmonary disease management, including the pathophysiology, diagnosis, and patient care in a clinical care setting for the following functional areas: Adult Critical Care Specialist (ACCS), Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist (NPS), or the Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT). Students will demonstrate knowledge in critical care pathophysiology to interpret pertinent clinical information to make recommendations for appropriate therapeutic intervention.
  2. SLO#2 (Leadership) You will apply leadership theories and practices to complete a specific education or management project; with a successful project to include gathering information, engaging persons of interest, leading meetings, delegating tasks, utilizing electronic tools of modern leadership, and meeting established goals. Students will demonstrate the ability to access, interpret, and critically appraise relevant medical and other authoritative literature related to clinical practice, administration, education, and/or research associated with the respiratory therapy profession.
  3. SLO # 3  (Project Management) You will apply inter-professional leadership and project management strategy to complete a research, quality improvement, or educational project to demonstrate organization, professionalism, and management. Students will demonstrate the ability to solve complex clinical situations while serving as a member of an inter-professional team taking into consideration the viewpoints of all members of the team with the focus on patient centered care.
  4. SLO #4 (Evidence-based Practice) You will demonstrate knowledge of study design, data analysis, and research methods related to developing a research proposal that will answer a relevant clinical question.  Students will develop a subject for systematic review related to their Capstone Project during the RESP 6115 after discussion with faculty. They will complete a thorough evidence-based systematic review under the guidance of a faculty advisor, which will culminate in a Systematic Review Paper in the Capstone course.
  5. SLO # 5 (Professional Communication) You will demonstrate effective oral and written professional communication skills consistent with a master level respiratory therapist. This will include oral presentation using presentation software, a poster that meets the standards of the American Association of Respiratory Care Open Forum, and the final Capstone paper.

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