May 25, 2019  
2017-2018 University Catalog 
2017-2018 University Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Respiratory Care-Professional Phase, Two-Year Track , MS

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Respiratory Care: Program Overview

The Division of Respiratory Care in the College of Health Sciences at Rush University in Chicago is dedicated to clinical and academic excellence in teaching, research, service and patient care. The Respiratory Care Program is designed to provide students with an outstanding education in preparation for a satisfying professional career as advanced respiratory care practitioners as well as to provide a foundation for leadership in management and supervision, education and clinical specialization.

Respiratory care, also known as respiratory therapy, is the allied health profession responsible for caring for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory care is a dynamic and exciting health profession offering many opportunities for the new graduate.

Areas of respiratory care include basic care (oxygen, aerosol and chest physiotherapy), critical care (ventilator management and physiologic monitoring), perinatal and pediatric respira­tory care, cardiopulmonary diagnostics, pulmonary laboratory, skilled nursing, restorative, subacute, home care, and pulmonary rehabilitation. 

The respiratory therapist may often see a diverse group of patients ranging from the newborn and pediatric patients to adults and the elderly. Disease states or conditions often requiring respiratory care include asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, infant respiratory distress, and conditions brought on by shock, trauma or postoperative surgical complications.

Respiratory therapists are also involved in many specialty areas in the hospital such as newborn labor and delivery, neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, pulmonary function laboratory, sleep laboratory, adult intensive care units, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), and EKG testing.  Therapists may also be employed in physicians’ offices, clinics, extended care facilities, or working in home care.

Master of Science Program

The Master of Science degree in Respiratory Care requires a minimum of 92 semester hours of credit for graduation. This is an integrated program, requiring 29 semester hours of program preprofessional prerequisite requirements prior to admission to Rush University for the professional phase (24 months). The preprofessional phase requirements may be completed at any accredited college or university and include the successful completion of a baccalaureate degree. Dedicated to clinical and academic excellence, the professional phase includes more than 1,000 hours of in-hospital clinical practice.

As a leadership program in respiratory care, this course of study aspires to provide graduates with the foundation needed to assume professional leadership roles in clinical practice, clinical specialty areas, research, education and management. Upon completion of the program, graduates are eligible for the national board examinations in respiratory care as well as state licensure.

Respiratory Care: Admission Requirements - Master’s Program

Admission to the program is on a competitive basis. Student selection is based on a number of factors including overall grade point average, prerequisite grade point average, consistency of academic performance, coursework completed prior to application, Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores and interpersonal abilities. The program is rigorous, and applicants are required to arrange an orientation visit to a respiratory care department at a hospital prior to acceptance to the program if the applicant has no previous experience in the field of respiratory care.

Requirements for admission to the professional phase of the program in respiratory care include:

  • A minimum overall GPA of 2.5 in undergraduate coursework
  • Completion of all professional prerequisite required courses with a grade of “C” or better
  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree .
  • Senior standing at the time of application and the ability to complete all preprofessional coursework by the beginning of the fall quarter of the first year. Students admitted to the three-year track or advance standing programs may be admitted with some program prerequisites and/or general education outstanding.
  • Submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores is encouraged but not required (from an examination taken within five years of the date of application to the program).
  • A personal interview with departmental faculty
  • Completed application to the program and submission of official transcripts for all college coursework completed

Program Prerequisites

All program prerequisite courses must be taken prior to entry into the first year of the regular professional program (alterations in the student’s planned program require written approval by the Department Chair/Program Director). Registration for the first sequence of professional courses in the program requires:

  • Admission into the program
  • Completion of Human Anatomy and Physiology, Chemistry, Physics, Microbiology, Psychology, Mathematics (college algebra or higher), and Statistics with a grade of “C” or better
  • Consent of the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care


Please note: Individuals holding the RRT credential may be admitted to the program prior to completion of all program prerequisites.

Respiratory Care Technical Standards

Rush University is committed to diversity and to attracting and educating students who will make the population of health care professionals representative of the national population.

Our core values - ICARE - Innovation, Collaboration, Accountability, Respect and Excellence translate into our work with all students, including those with disabilities. Rush actively collaborates with students to develop innovative ways to ensure accessibility and creates a respectful accountable culture through our confidential and specialized disability support. Rush is committed to excellence in accessibility; we encourage students with disabilities to disclose and seek accommodations.

The following technical functions are required of all students enrolled in the Respiratory Care program:

Acquire Information

  • Acquire information from demonstrations and experiences in courses such as lecture, group, and physical demonstrations.
  • Acquire information from written documents and computer systems (e.g., literature searches & data retrieval).
  • Identify information presented in accessible images from paper, slides, videos with audio description, and transparencies.
  • Identify information presented in images from paper, slides, videos, and transparencies.
  • Recognize and assess patient changes in mood, activity, cognition, verbal, and non-verbal communication.

Use and Interpret

  • Use and interpret information from assessment techniques/maneuvers. Use and interpret information related to physiologic phenomena generated from diagnostic tools.


  • Possess psychomotor skills necessary to provide or assist in holistic Respiratory Care care and perform or assist with procedures and treatments.
  • Practice in a safe manner and appropriately provide Respiratory Care care and assessment in emergencies and life support procedures and perform universal precautions against contamination.


  • Communicate effectively and sensitively with patients and families.
  • Communicate effectively with faculty, preceptors, and all members of the healthcare team during practicum and other learning experiences.
  • Accurately elicit information including a medical history and other information to adequately and effectively evaluate a population’s, client’s or patient’s condition.

Intellectual Ability

  • Measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data related to diagnosis and treatment of patients and populations.
  • Exercise proper judgment and complete responsibilities in a timely and accurate manner according to the Respiratory Care role.
  • Synthesize information, problem solve, and think critically to judge the most appropriate theory, assessment, or treatment strategy.


  • Maintain mature, sensitive, effective relationships with clients/patients, families, students, faculty, staff, preceptors and other professionals under all circumstances.
  • Exercise skills of diplomacy to advocate for patients in need.
  • Possess emotional stability to function under stress and adapt to rapidly changing environments inherent to the classroom and practice settings.


  • Demonstrate concern for others.
  • Integrity, accountability, interest, and motivation are necessary personal qualities.
  • Demonstrate intent and desire to follow the Rush University and Respiratory Care Code of Ethics.

The technical standards delineated above must be met with or without accommodation. Students who, after review of the technical standards, determine that they require reasonable accommodation to fully engage in the program, should contact the Office of Student Disability Services to confidentially discuss their accommodations needs. Given the clinical nature of our programs time may be needed to implement the accommodations. Accommodations are never retroactive; therefore, timely requests are essential and encouraged. To learn more about accommodations at Rush University please contact:

Marie Ferro-Lusk, MBA, MSW, LSW
Manager, Office of Student Disability Services
Rush University
600 S. Paulina St. AAC 440
Chicago, IL 60612
(312) 942-5237

Respiratory Care: Academic Policies

Master of Science

All professional courses (RCPprefix) in the Department are taught in a sequential manner. Each professional course in the program serves as the prerequisite for the subsequent course. Consequently, professional courses must be taken in sequence. Withdrawing or failure to successfully complete a professional course with a letter grade of “C” or better may result in the student being placed on a three-year track, given a leave of absence (LOA) and academic probation or dismissed from the program after review by the Committee on Progress and Promotions. Students readmitted to the program at times other than the fall quarter of the second year will pick up the course sequence as prescribed by the Chair/Program Director or Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care.

Standards of Performance for Respiratory Care and Major Field-Related Courses

90 - 100 = A

80 - 89 = B

75 - 79 = C

70 - 74 = D

Below 70 = F

Unless otherwise described in a given course syllabus, the minimum satisfactory grade for course credit is a letter grade of “C” and all stipulated segments of a course must be passed by this standard. Students must demonstrate proficiency in all clinical skills presented in order to pass clinical courses. For all clinical courses, the final exam must be passed at the designated cut score AND a grade of “C” or better must be maintained in order to successfully complete each clinical course to continue in the program.


Students are expected to maintain an overall GPA in the program of at least 3.0.

Failure of the student to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0 will subject the student to a review and may result in the student being placed on probation, given a LOA, or dismissed from the program after review by the Committee on Progress and Promotions.

If dismissed and the student wishes to reenter the program, he or she must reapply and will be considered on the same basis as any new applicant. Students who voluntarily withdraw from the program, either passing or failing, have no guarantee of reinstatement to the program. Students requesting readmission to the program should submit a letter to that effect to the Committee on Progress and Promotion for Respiratory Care. Students readmitted to the program will pick up the course sequence as prescribed by the Chair/Program Director or Committee on Progress and Promotions for  Respiratory Care.

The three-year track option may be used to remediate students that fail to earn at least a grade of “C” in each respiratory care course or maintain an overall GPA of at least 3.0. While on this three-year track, withdrawing or failure to complete a respiratory care professional course with a letter grade of “C” or better may result in the student being placed on academic probation, given a LOA or dismissed from the program after review by the Committee on Progress and Promotions.

Clinical Final Examinations

All students are required to pass the clinical final examination after completing Clinical course to continue in the program. In the event a student fails the clinical final examination, the student is allowed to make ONE more attempt to pass. In the event the student passes the clinical final exam on the second attempt the student will continue in the program. The grade earned on the first attempt will be used to calculate the final clinical grade. In the event the student does NOT pass the clinical final exam on the second attempt the student will be placed in remediation. The student will be given a third attempt to pass the final by the end of the next quarter. In the event the students does not pass on the third attempt the student will earn an “F” in the clinical course and may be suspended or released from the program.

Comprehensive End-of-Program Competency Assessment Examination

Before graduating the student will complete comprehensive end-of-program examination assessments [NBRC secure Therapist Multiple Choice (TMC) and clinical simulation examinations (CSE)].   The TMC examination will be taken at the end of Spring semester of the second year as a part of  RCP 581, Clinical Practice 2. The CSE will be given at the beginning of the Summer semester of the second year as part of  RCP 591, Clinical Practice 3. A passing score is required to successfully complete RCP 581 and RCP 591, as well as meet graduation and program course completion requirements. Students who do not successfully complete the comprehensive self-assessment examinations will receive an Incomplete (“I”) for RCP 581 and/or RCP 591. Those students failing receiving and “I” will be required to attend remediation over the following quarter.  Those failing the examination after multiple attempts or failing to attend remediation may be subject to dismissal from the program. Those students may reapply to the program (see Procedures for Readmission).

Conduct and Ethics

Each student is expected to conduct oneself at all times in a dignified manner. This manner conforms to the ethics of the profession and instills patient confidence in one’s abilities as a health care practitioner. Each student is expected to conform to the professional code of ethics as outlined in this handbook and policies outlined in the university catalog.

Irresponsible, unprofessional or unethical behavior as determined by the instructor or failure to follow the instructions of a clinical instructor during clinical practice may result in dismissal from the program. Falsification on any clinical documents will be treated as scholastic dishonesty.All hospital regulations are to be followed by students when undergoing clinical training in a facility.

If employed by a clinical site in which the student is assigned a clinical rotation, the student must not complete clinical coursework while in an employee status.

Scholastic Dishonesty and Cheating

The Department will not condone cheating in any form. Plagiarizing or copying others writing or work is considered cheating. Any allegations of cheating will be reviewed by the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care and if merited, dealt with in a strict manner, including immediate dismissal from the program.

Any student found to be cheating on an examination, test, quiz or assignment will automatically receive a “0” for the grade and will be subject to dismissal from the program at the discretion of the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care. Failure to report incidents involving scholastic dishonesty on the part of another student will be considered unprofessional conduct on the part of the student and may result in disciplinary action.

Examination Review

At the discretion of the course instructor, during review of any examination given within the curriculum, no other papers or books will be allowed on the student’s desk. No writing implements of any kind will be allowed. NO note-taking or recording of any kind will be permitted. This includes written note-taking and/or recording with audiotape, videotape or any other form of electronic or mechanical recording. Violation of this policy will constitute academic dishonesty and will be referred to the Committee on Progress and Promotions for review and possible disciplinary action.

Examination Adminstration

All examinations given by the department will be monitored by faculty or staff at all times. Students will be seated in such a manner as to minimize the opportunity for observation of other students’ examination papers. No breaks will be allowed once an examination period has begun, and students may not leave the room during an exam until they are finished taking the examination, except in the event of an emergency, which will be judged by the faculty or staff monitoring the exam on a case by case basis.

If a student turns in an examination without answering all questions, he or she will NOT be given an opportunity to finish the examination after leaving the room.

Only marks made on the Scantron sheet will be used to compute a grade on all Scantron-graded examinations. Even if a student marks the answer correctly on his or her examination, but does not mark it correctly on the Scantron, only the Scantron answer will be used to compute the grade, not the answer marked on the examination.

Calculators will be provided to students for examinations, thus personal calculators will not be allowed during examinations.

Policy for Transfer Students

Students who have completed coursework at other approved respiratory care programs may petition to have these courses transfer in lieu of specific coursework in the Rush University program. Students must submit a transcript of their courses from the program and a copy of the course syllabus for each course in which they desire transfer credit. The syllabus must contain the following: course objectives, lecture outlines, course content, evaluation procedures and related information. These courses will be evaluated on an individual basis for content and total contact hours and credit hours.

The Department reserves the right to test the proficiency of any student in coursework transferred from other respiratory care programs and the right to disallow such transfer credit in such coursework in cases which the student cannot demonstrate acceptable proficiency. All transfer credit is subject to the approval of the Committee on Progress and Promotions for Respiratory Care. The student must also have a minimum grade of “C” (2.0) for each course being transferred. A student cannot receive transfer credit for any respiratory care coursework if he or she left the previous program due to academic probation, suspension or exclusion. All University policies regarding transfer credit must be satisfied.

Respiratory Care: Graduation Requirements - Master of Science

  • Completion of all required coursework with a grade point average of 3.0 or better
  • Completion of each required respiratory care professional course with a grade of “C” or better
  • Basic Life Support (BLS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), and Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP) course completion
  • Successfully complete a departmental research project
  • Completion of all University requirements for graduation

Respiratory Care: Master of Science Curriculum

Preprofessional Phase - Program Prerequisites

The preprofessional phase (lower-division college-level coursework) requires a minimum of 29 quarter hours of prescribed study as outlined below.


Professional Prerequisites*

Semester Credit Hours

Quarter Credit Hours

Human Anatomy and Physiology (or 4 hours Anatomy and 4 hours Physiology)



Chemistry (with Lab)



Physics (with Lab)



Microbiology (with Lab)



Psychology (courses with prefixes PSYC)



Mathematics (college algebra or higher)









Professional Phase - Respiratory Care Professional Courses

Two-Year Track - MS Degree

Students accepted into the professional phase begin coursework in the fall semester of the first year of the program. Coursework in the professional phase is taken on a full-time basis in the following sequence:

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