A Worcester college is home to the oldest respiratory care program in the state, training therapists who do critical work especially during the covid-19 pandemic.

Quinsigamond Community College is honoring respiratory therapists during respiratory care week. Earlier this year, the college received approval from the program’s accrediting agency to allow its students to both work on their student licenses and earn credits.

QCC says this added a dozen students to the workforce, increased the respiratory therapists in Worcester by 10%, and brought needed medical resources to an extremely stressed healthcare system.

"Right now with covid we’re on the front lines along with nurses and doctors and other healthcare clinicians. Where this is affecting someone’s ability to breathe the respiratory therapist are right there in the thick of things" said Keith Hirst, Respiratory Care Program Coordinator at QCC.

QCC students are working at St. Vincent Hospital and UMass Memorial. They administer medications, evaluate oxygen therapy, and care for patients on ventilators.