The respiratory care program at your affiliated college or university provides you with the necessary knowledge and skills to begin clinical practice. A comprehensive curriculum prepares you to give professional respiratory care in health care settings ranging from the emergency department to a patient's home.


As part of your final year of study, you participate in clinical rotations at Mayo Clinic Hospital, part of Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla. These rotations may include:

  • General floor patient care
  • Critical care
  • Level II neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Emergency care
  • Pulmonary diagnostics (pulmonary function testing and bronchoscopy assisting)
  • Arterial blood analysis
  • Electrocardiograms (ECGs) and exercise stress testing
  • Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation

During the rotations, you observe and assist with:

  • Administering bronchodilator therapy for patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) and asthma
  • Performing percussive therapy and administering positive expiratory pressure (PEP) therapy to patients with pneumonia
  • Providing mechanical ventilation to postsurgical patients (including those who have had coronary artery bypass graft, as well as heart, lung and liver transplants), patients resuscitated by emergency medical staff and long-term ventilator patients
  • Providing supplemental oxygen to patients
  • Assisting physicians with diagnostic procedures, such as bronchoscopy and pulmonary exercise stress testing
  • Providing pulmonary function testing to diagnose respiratory-related disease processes
  • Performing ECGs on cardiac patients in both the emergency department and other patient care areas
  • Harvesting and analyzing arterial blood to provide laboratory feedback to physicians
  • Participating on the resuscitation team and attending patient emergencies

As part of these procedures, respiratory therapists educate the patients and their families regarding therapy.

Grading or evaluation

As you move through the respiratory care rotations, you are evaluated in each clinical area by the supervising therapists, the program director and the clinical supervisor. Clinical performance is evaluated using a competency-based evaluation system and performance appraisals.

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences uses these evaluative tools:

  • Demonstration of skills
  • Self-assessment exercises
  • Faculty reviews

Mayo's system of evaluation provides students and faculty with a comprehensive look at individual performance. This allows faculty and administrative staff to direct students who are experiencing academic difficulty to the appropriate support resources, including tutoring programs and counseling opportunities.

Curriculum enhancements

Mayo Clinic School of Health Sciences is committed to developing and maintaining the best education programs. The curriculum and other aspects of this program are assessed constantly and changed as necessary to ensure the highest quality training.

April 11, 2014