Respiratory Therapy Program

Respiratory Therapy Program

The CHI St. Alexius Health Respiratory Therapy Program, founded in 1971, is co-sponsored by the University of Mary and CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck, North Dakota. The program prepares people for the Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy. Students majoring in respiratory therapy complete two years of pre-professional course work at the University of Mary, BSC or any other accredited college or university followed by two full years of professional preparation at CHI St. Alexius Health. The University of Mary awards credit for courses taught at CHI St. Alexius and University of Mary grants the baccalaureate degree.

Graduates of the program are eligible to take the credentialing examinations administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) leading to the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

Program Highlights
The nationally recognized respiratory therapy program at the CHI St. Alexius Health prepares you with the skills to lead through a combination of classroom and on-site clinical experience.

  • Join a program that is nationally recognized for graduate credentialing success and offers a 100 percent graduation rate, graduate employment rate, and graduate pass rate on the licensing exam.
  • Gain valuable respiratory therapy experience through classroom, laboratory, and clinical practicum courses at CHI St. Alexius Health in Bismarck.
  • Receive over 1,100 hours of supervised experience in direct patient interaction.
  • Opt to take the respiratory therapy pre-med track, which allows you to complete all courses required for admission to most medical schools while completing requirements for the Bachelor of Science degree in respiratory therapy.
  • Develop professional leadership skills in a collaborative learning environment grounded in Christian, Catholic, Benedictine values.
  • Work in small classes with faculty who are nationally published in the field of respiratory therapy.

The professional program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), 1248 Harwood Road, Bedford, Texas 76021-4244; (817) 283-2835. Graduates are eligible to sit for the registry examinations offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC), leading to the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential. Requirements for licensure in the state of North Dakota are met by graduates who successfully complete the NBRC examinations.

To prepare students to become competent registered respiratory therapists who think critically, engage in evidence-based practice, function as expert resources to physicians and other healthcare professionals, assume leadership roles and interact respectfully and compassionately with others, regardless of cultural background, values, and lifestyles.

Program Goals and Standards

Goal 1: To prepare graduates with demonstrated competence in the cognitive (knowledge), psychomotor (skills), and affective (behavior) learning domains of respiratory care practice as performed by registered respiratory therapists (RRTs) and as professional members of the health care team as defined by the “Essential Functions and Professional Expectations":

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the physiological bases for all therapeutic interventions and diagnostic procedures in all areas of respiratory therapy practice
  • Demonstrate proficiency in implementing all respiratory therapy treatment and diagnostic procedures
  • Demonstrate proficiency in interpreting physical exam findings, cardiopulmonary monitoring data, laboratory data, and diagnostic imaging information
  • Demonstrate problem solving and critical thinking skills as consultants to physicians and other healthcare personnel in developing cardiopulmonary care strategies
  • Demonstrate proficiency in establishing an evidence base for best practice through research and the critique and interpretation of the professional scientific literature
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the ethical obligations and responsibilities of healthcare professionals and institutions
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the legal, social and economic environments in which the healthcare institutions function
  • Demonstrate effective cross-cultural and interdisciplinary human interaction skills in the healthcare setting and the broader community
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current issues and trends in healthcare, including public policy, access and reimbursement issues
  • Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication
  • Educate patients and the general public in matters of cardiopulmonary health and chronic disease management
  • Demonstrate leadership abilities in healthcare through the development of honest, competent and forward-looking practice techniques

Goal 2: To prepare leaders for the field of respiratory care by including curricular content that includes objectives related to acquisition of skills in the areas of management, education, research, and advanced clinical practice such as:

  • Becoming a valued member of the health care team by sharing expertise in the field of respiratory therapy through the use of and promotion of evidence-based practices, research, and the utilization of clinical practice guidelines.
  • Exploring areas of advanced clinical practice by creating and completing a specialty rotation tailored to individual student interests in areas of advanced practice to prepare for future leadership opportunities in research, management and education within the respiratory therapy profession.

Admission to Professional Program
Students should apply by February 15 for admission to the professional program which begins the following August. Later applications will be considered only on a space-available basis. The Program accepts 12 students each August. Application forms are available from the program at CHI St. Alexius Health, and from the respiratory care advisor at the University of Mary. A non-refundable fifteen dollar ($15.00) application fee is required. All pre-professional courses must be completed prior to the anticipated entry date into the professional program to be eligible for admission.

Preliminary qualifying criteria for admissions interviews include:

  1. Admissions to the University of Mary
  2. Minimum grade of "C" in each math and science course
  3. Minimum 2.50 GPA in all math and science courses combined
  4. Minimum 2.50 GPA in all college courses combined

Steps in the Admission Process:

  1. Apply for admission to the University of Mary (unless you are already a University of Mary student).
  2. Apply for admission to Respiratory Therapy Program (admission to the University of Mary is a prerequisite for admission to the program).
  3. Send official copies of all college transcripts from other universities to the University of Mary.
  4. Prior to the February 15 deadline, submit to the program:
    • completed application and information form
    • $15.00 application fee (non-refundable)
    • three letters of reference
    • copies of all college transcripts (need not be official copies)
  5. Appear for a personal interview with the program admissions committee, if invited. (The admissions committee determines whether the applicant meets preliminary qualifying criteria [GPA, completion of prerequisites, etc.] and then contacts qualified applicants to schedule the personal interview.)

Prospective applicants should make an appointment with the Respiratory Therapy Program Director Christine Sperle (701.530.7756; [email protected] ) to tour CHI St. Alexius Health and learn more about the responsibilities and duties of respiratory therapists.

Rolling Admissions:
If the class number does not reach its maximum capacity by the application deadline, a rolling admissions policy will be followed. Students must meet all criteria previously outlined and participate in the formal interview process. Rolling admissions are considered until the first day of class in the fall. Applicants will be reviewed based on the time of submissions of a completed application.

Transfer Students:
Pre-professional credits may be transferred from other accredited colleges or universities. Transfer students must meet all University of Mary general education requirements for the B.S. degree in Respiratory Therapy. Respiratory Therapy courses fulfill the University's residence credit requirement. Transfer student advising occurs through the University of Mary office of admissions at 701-355-8030 or email.

Graduation from the University of Mary requires a minimum of 64 credit hours from a 4-year college or university. Transfer students are advised to discuss their degree plans with the University of Mary Respiratory Therapy Advisor.

Essential Functional Requirements

Address all professional program questions and requests to:

Christine Sperle
Associate Professor and Director
Respiratory Therapy Program
CHI St. Alexius Health
900 East Broadway
P.O. Box 5510
Bismarck, ND 58502-5510

Questions regarding University of Mary admissions, transfer credits, and financial aid:

Admissions Office
University of Mary
7500 University Drive
Bismarck, ND 58504

Application / Contacts

Respiratory Therapy Program
CHI St. Alexius Health
900 East Broadway
Bismarck, ND 58502
[email protected]

University of Mary
Office of Admissions
7500 University Drive
Bismarck, ND 58504
701.355.8030 or 800.288.6279
[email protected]

Dr. Krystyna Gorzelska
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Respiratory Therapy Advisor
University of Mary
[email protected]