Blessing-Rieman using grant to expand respiratory therapy program

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 4:45 AM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences said they have big plans for a $1.5 million grant they’ve received from the federal government.

President and CEO Brenda Beshears said their respiratory therapy program currently graduates three to seven people every year and can only offer them a certification or associates degree.

With the grant, she said their goal is to have have at least 15 graduates per year and offer a bachelor’s degree, which would make Blessing-Reiman the only program to offer that level of education in 100 miles.

Beshears said the expansion will benefit the community as COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of well-trained respiratory therapists.

“You want to improve the health of the community, number one, always always,” she said. “You want to see at the end of this grant that we made a difference, that we just get the grant, plug it into the budget and que sera. We want to see differences within the health for our individuals.”

Those at Quincy University said they will also benefit due to partnership with Blessing-Rieman. Dr. Kimberly Hale said they have at most two to three QU students go into the respiratory therapy class every year.

She said respiratory therapists play a key role for people post-surgery, on ventilators, or who have chronic lung problems but there’s not enough of them.

“More people in that field would be beneficial,” Hale said. “Actually as you might be aware, a lot of people left that field during the COVID outbreak because obviously of the fear of being exposed as a respiratory therapist.”

Blessing-Rieman officials said they’re working out the details of the expanded course right now. They said they haven’t gotten the money and they’re not sure when they will get it.

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