Master of Science Options

St. Alexius Medical Center
University of Mary

Respiratory Therapy Program

Introduction to the Program
Program Philosophy & Goals
Pre-professional Curriculum
Professional Curriculum
Pre-medical Curriculum Option
Master of Science Option
Admission to Professional Program
More Information/application
Masters of Science Option  

Program Overview
The Professional Master of Science Respiratory Therapy option offers individuals with baccalaureate degrees in disciplines other than respiratory therapy the opportunity to complete the professional component of the respiratory therapy program for graduate credit and enter practice with advanced preparation. In addition to a baccalaureate degree, applicants must also meet the respiratory therapy program's math and science prerequisites. The Master of Science curriculum encompasses the baccalaureate professional respiratory therapy curriculum, which consists of 70 credit hours, 37 hours of which are dual-numbered courses offered at the graduate level. Upon successful completion of the professional curriculum graduates are eligible to sit for state licensing and national credentialing examinations offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care, leading to the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) credential.

The Master of Science in Respiratory Therapy provides graduates with accelerated mobility into leadership roles, e.g. as healthcare education coordinators, clinical instructors, clinical team leaders, assistant managers, or specialty therapists. Each student chooses one of three major specialty areas in which to concentrate: (1) a patient care or diagnostic area; (2) an education focus, i.e. respiratory care classroom/lab/clinical teaching and testing; (3) a management focus, i.e. respiratory care departmental management and leadership experiences.

Mission
To prepare students at the graduate level 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 in academia and practice; and interact respectfully and compassionately with others, regardless of cultural background, values and lifestyles.

Outcomes
Upon completion of the Master's of Science in Respiratory Therapy, graduates will be able to:

  • 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 healthcare institutions function
  • Demonstrate effective cross-cultural human interaction skills in the healthcare setting and the broader community
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current issues and trends in healthcare, including public policy, healthcare access and reimbursement issues
  • Demonstrate proficiency in oral and written communication, including the preparation of a manuscript suitable for submission to a peer-reviewed scientific journal
  • Educate patients and the general public in matters of cardiopulmonary health and chronic disease management
  • Develop a healthcare related research proposal that meets requirements for institutional review board approval
  • Demonstrate advanced knowledge in one of three specialization areas in respiratory therapy: (1) professional education; (2) hospital department administrative leadership; or (3)a clinical specialty practice area

Accreditation
The Respiratory Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), 1248 Harwood Road Bedford, Texas 76021-4244, telephone (817) 283-2835.

Admissions Requirements
The application deadline is February 15 each year. Prospective applicants should make an appointment with the respiratory therapy program director (701-530-7757; email ) to tour St. Alexius Medical Center and learn more about the responsibilities and duties of respiratory therapists. Application forms can be obtained from the university respiratory therapy advisor, or they may be accessed from the Program Director at St. Alexius.

Applicants for admission to the Professional Master of Science Respiratory Therapy option must meet the following minimum qualifying criteria:

  1. Earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited college or university with an overall college grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 or higher
  2. Admission to the University of Mary Graduate Program
  3. A 3.00 or higher GPA in the respiratory therapy program's prerequisite pre-professional courses in math, biology, chemistry, physics, pharmacology, ethics, English (communications) and social sciences, with no individual course grade below a "C."
  4. Three letters of reference from the applicant's undergraduate professors or academic counselors who are in a position to judge the applicant's written communication proficiency and ability to perform graduate level work.

In addition, applicants must have successfully completed the following prerequisite courses:

  • General Inorganic Chemistry (two semesters)
  • Microbiology
  • College Algebra
  • Ethics
  • Introduction to Physics
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology (two semesters)
  • Pharmacology

Upon meeting preliminary qualifying criteria, applicants are eligible for a respiratory therapy admissions interview. Admissions decisions are based academic GPA and the interview score.

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.

Core Faculty
Dr. Will Beachey is a full professor and chair of the respiratory therapy department and is a registered respiratory therapist. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University, his master's degree in health occupations education from the University of Illinois and his Ph.D. in higher education teaching and learning from the University of North Dakota. Dr. Beachey has written a textbook, Respiratory Care Anatomy and Physiology; Foundations for Clinical Practice, published by Elsevier-Mosby, St. Louis; this book is soon to be in its third edition. He has also written a number of chapters in other respiratory therapy textbooks and has published scientific papers in peer-reviewed medical and respiratory therapy journals. Dr. Beachey is active in his national professional organization serving as a member of the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) and as a North Dakota delegate to the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). In 2008 Dr. Beachey was inducted as a Fellow of the American Association for Respiratory Care (FAARC). Prior to coming to the University of Mary, Dr. Beachey headed respiratory therapy programs at Hesston College, Hesston Kansas and Wichita State University, Wichita Kansas.

Christine Sperle is an assistant professor and director of clinical education and is a registered respiratory therapist. In addition she is a nationally certified asthma educator (AE-C), is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and is an ACLS instructor. She received both her Bachelor's of Science in respiratory therapy and Master's of Education in college teaching from the University of Mary. Professor Sperle co-authored a chapter on fetal and neonatal cardiopulmonary physiology in the second edition of Respiratory Care Anatomy and Physiology; Foundations for Clinical Practice published by Elsevier-Mosby, St. Louis. She is active in the North Dakota Society for Respiratory Care, having served as a member of its board of directors as treasurer. Professor Sperle is also a member of the Bismarck Tobacco Free Coalition.

Dr. Elizabeth Hughes is an associate professor of respiratory therapy and is a registered respiratory therapist; she is also a nationally certified asthma educator (AE-C), is certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) and is an ACLS instructor. She received both her Bachelor's of Science in respiratory therapy and Master's of Education in college teaching from the University of Mary. She received her Ph.D. in higher education teaching and learning from the University of North Dakota. Dr. Hughes co-authored a chapter on fetal and neonatal cardiopulmonary physiology in the second edition of Respiratory Care Anatomy and Physiology; Foundations for Clinical Practice published by Elsevier-Mosby, St. Louis; she was also a contributor to the first edition of this textbook. Dr. Hughes also co-authored a scientific paper on research she conducted with her students, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal, Nicotine and Tobacco Research. Dr. Hughes is active in the community as an executive board member of the Bismarck Tobacco Free Coalition and chairperson of the North Dakota Tobacco Prevention and Control Advisory Committee. Prior to her current position, Dr. Hughes served as the respiratory therapy program's director of clinical education, and for a short time, acting program director.