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Respiratory Care: Changing the World One Breath at a Time

October 30, 2015

The theme of National Respiratory Care week, which runs through Oct. 31, is all about “Changing the World One Breath at a Time.” Started in 1982 by a proclamation from President Ronald Reagan, the last full week in October turns the spotlight on respiratory therapists and the work they do to assist those with breathing problems.

Dakota State University is proud to be the only Respiratory Care program in the state of South Dakota with locations in Madison, Sioux Falls and Rapid City. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, respiratory care programs were hospital-based with DSU gaining the program in 1980. Currently, DSU works with Avera McKennan and Sanford Health, both in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Rapid City Regional Hospital, in Rapid City, S.D., to support the program.

“Our program cannot afford the multi-thousands of dollar ventilators and similar equipment, so we are allowed to utilize Avera, Sanford and Rapid City Regional’s equipment to use in class and lab with students,” said Bruce Feistner, director of the DSU Respiratory Care program. “These hospitals provide exceptional clinical rotation experiences for our students and they have been our advocate to keep our program open and running successfully.”

Respiratory therapists graduating from the associate or bachelor’s program often stay within the South Dakota area to provide care to residents all over the state. Both degrees have had a steady 100% placement over many years and have received the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award for four years in a row.