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March 26, 2020

Fanshawe's Respiratory Therapy program and the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario (CRTO) have worked together to allow the College's 43 third-year students to begin putting their skills to work immediately during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The students are within weeks of completing the College's three-year advanced diploma program and respiratory therapist shortages have been identified at many hospitals. The profession is a small, specialized field of approximately 3,000 therapists in Ontario.

Respiratory Therapy students, class of 2020
Respiratory Therapy students, class of 2020

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease and patients need the expertise of a respiratory therapist to assist with their breathing through oxygen and/or intubation and ventilation, putting respiratory therapists in high demand and at the centre of the worst of this disease.

"I have been in this profession for more than twenty years and have never seen this happen, not even during SARS," says Julie Brown, coordinator of the Respiratory Therapy program. “I have all of the confidence in the world in our students. They are only four weeks from completing an extremely difficult three-year program and all have done 36 of 40 weeks in clinical hospital and community placements. They have all of the skills they need to be a great help and many are jumping in today!"

According to professor Brown, the students will finish their courses online over the next month while working.

For more information, please visit Fanshawe's media contact page.