The Texas State University System Board of Regents has authorized Texas State University to offer a Master of Science in Respiratory Care (MSRC) degree program via distance education.
The board approved the new degree during its quarterly meeting February 16 in Austin. The program will begin enrolling students in the fall of 2017.
“With the myriad of changes being made with the delivery of healthcare services nation-wide, the one constant is to have highly qualified healthcare professionals,” said Ruth Welborn, dean of the College of Health Professions. “In initiating the MSRC degree, Texas State responds to the need to prepare respiratory care professionals with advanced levels of education to meet the complexity of patient care for individuals with respiratory care diagnoses.”
Part of the impetus for the program is the state’s growing population of adults over the age of 50. Members of the Baby Boomer generation are now living longer than ever before, and as a consequence, experiencing more age-related respiratory illness. The Texas Workforce Commission projects a 31 percent increase in demand for respiratory therapists in the state through 2024.
“The MSRC program will help meet community needs for the aging population,” said Gregg Marshall, chair of the Department of Respiratory Care and the Texas State Sleep Center. “Our program will have extensive training in patient education and disease management. That will make our graduates a real asset to area hospitals.
“We want to keep the aging population healthy and out of the hospital. One issue we have with boomers, for example, is that even individuals who had smoked for 15 years but then quit for the past 10 years can begin experiencing the effects of chronic lung disease simply because of the aging process,” he said. “People who have never had any problems suddenly become symptomatic. Disease management, along with patient and family education, is really critical for those cases.”
The MSRC program will consist of 24 hours of core respiratory care curriculum, with additional 12 hour concentrations in either leadership or polysomnography. Those students choosing the leadership concentration will focus on finance, human resources, law and leadership. The polysomnography concentration includes 100 hours in sleep clinic settings to develop leading-edge knowledge of sleep disorders, sleep study procedures and polysomnogram reporting.
“The polysomnography concentration is geared toward those already working with sleep and sleep disorders. When the program transitions to the Round Rock campus, we will have access to a new, four-bedroom sleep lab,” he said. “The program will conduct sleep research and provide services to surrounding areas, sleep groups, physicians groups and hospitals that don’t have sleep lab facilities to meet that need in the community.”
Texas State becomes only the second institution to offer a MSRC program in Texas and fourth in the United States. In addition to courses for the core respiratory care component and leadership concentration that will be offered online, the program provides a polysomnography concentration that includes 100 contact hours in a sleep clinic and additional experiences in laboratory settings.
The program will be housed in the new, 107,000-square-foot Health Professions Building on the Round Rock campus upon its projected completion in Spring 2018. The $67.5 million project is funded through a combination of state-issued tuition revenue bonds, institutional funds and a $5 million gift from the St. David’s Foundation.
The Texas State University System Board of Regents is the governing body for Texas’ oldest university system, which comprises eight institutions: Lamar University; Sam Houston State University; Texas State University; Sul Ross State University; Sul Ross State University Rio Grande College; Lamar Institute of Technology; Lamar State College-Orange; and Lamar State College-Port Arthur.
About Texas State University
Founded in 1899, Texas State University is among the largest universities in Texas with an enrollment of 38,849 students on campuses in San Marcos and Round Rock. Texas State’s 170,000-plus alumni are a powerful force in serving the economic workforce needs of Texas and throughout the world. Designated an Emerging Research University by the State of Texas, Texas State is classified under “Doctoral Universities: Higher Research Activity,” the second-highest designation for research institutions under the Carnegie classification system.