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Hudson Valley Community College Respiratory Therapy Graduates Still Perfect After 17

CONTACT: Sarah Boggess (518) 629-8073
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Thursday, March 9, 2000

In the sports world, an undefeated season is seen as quite an accomplishment. If athletic analogies can be applied to Hudson Valley Community College's Respiratory Care Department, they've been undefeated for at least 17 years. "Going back at least 17 years, every one of our graduates has passed the national licensure exam on their first try," said President John Buono. "Considering we have about 16 to 20 students graduating every year, I think that's a pretty good record."

When the results recently came back for the Class of 1999, Hudson Valley's graduates had again notched a perfect 100 percent pass rate on the national licensing exam. Nationally, the average pass rate was 82 percent. Department Chair Patricia Hyland said the perfect pass rate has been matched by a 100 percent job placement rate for graduates for the past several years. "Respiratory therapists are in demand right now. When you get through this program, your options are wide open," she said. "We have people working at hospitals around the area, at skilled nursing facilities and in home care."

Respiratory therapists work on a variety of patients - from premature babies to elderly patients suffering from chronic lung disease. In the hospital setting, they are often part of a medical team that includes physicians, nurses and other allied health professionals.

The program's perfect pass rate may even be longer than 17 years. Hyland said she has tracked it since she came on board as an adjunct professor in 1982, but there may have been years before that where every graduate passed the licensing exam.

The Respiratory Care program at Hudson Valley Community College began in 1971 as a joint effort between the college and Albany Medical Center. The medical center remains a primary clinical affiliate for the program, but it's one of about a dozen around the Capital Region. The respiratory program is rigorous. Students in the program are in school for five consecutive semesters and much of the second year of study is spent in clinical rotations at sites off-campus.

"People are drawn to respiratory care because it's a nice blend of technology and patient care experience," Hyland said. "The starting salaries are comparable to nursing or other allied health professions."

Hudson Valley Community College, located in Troy, offers more than 50 degree and certification programs in four academic divisions: Liberal Arts and Sciences; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Business; as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunities Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 9,000 students each year, and is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining.