RT Magazine: The nation’s first APRT master’s program recently graduated its first group of licensed advanced practice respiratory therapists.

The APRT curriculum comprises 47 credit hours in a five-course semester. Students begin studies in the fall and graduate in the spring, according to Varekojis. During the first year, students take foundational courses that include advanced health assessment, pathophysiology of altered health states, advanced pharmacology in nursing, ethical issues in advanced practice and advanced practice in respiratory care. The students also take evidence-based practice courses with the physical therapy department. Varekojis pointed out that the APRT students take some courses with nurse practitioner students as well.  

In addition to the didactic component, students are required to complete 1,000 hours of supervised practice by a licensed physician in a clinical specialty, which might take place in adult critical/emergent care, pediatric or neonatal critical care, pediatrics, primary respiratory care, neuromuscular respiratory care and sleep disorders. 

Advanced courses are applied in both inpatient and outpatient settings and reenforce the principles of the foundational courses. “At the time of admission to the program, the student indicates their interest in a specific area of practice,” Varekojis said. “OSU has everything a large urban hospital has: multiple inpatient care areas, an outpatient clinic, specialty clinics, a sleep clinic and general pulmonary. There are a lot of different clinical opportunities for students.”

Students who decide to focus on sleep medicine can explore this discipline in the sleep clinic where they learn more about a variety of sleep disorders. Those interested in pediatrics have clinical opportunities at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, which is affiliated with the OSU College of Medicine. Physicians comprise the faculty and students are exposed to the same opportunities that are available in the adult setting; these might include rotations in the ICU and NICU. 

Learn more about the APRT program at rtmagazine.com