A Personal Note from our president:
Colleagues and Friends,
NN2RC was formed about five years ago, at a time when the threat to associate degree preparation as the respiratory care entry-level first became clear. Since its formation, NN2RC has delayed taking any extreme defensive actions, instead responding in good faith to sometimes mixed messages from established respiratory care professional and credentialing organizations. Recently, however, it has once again become very evident that proponents of baccalaureate entry-level continue to pursue an exclusionary agenda to raise entry-level, through less direct, but no less threatening, means.
The recent proposal modify an accreditation standard, to block accreditation of any new associate degree programs, flies in the face of broad-based national efforts to build flexible career pathways with multiple entry and exit points that provide access to health careers for diverse and under-resourced students. Although proponents of the CoARC Standard 1.01 revision have stated that “Existing associate degree programs will be able to participate in the accreditation process provided that they continue to comply with CoARC Standards and Policies,” the driving force behind the proposed change is clearly ongoing promotion of baccalaureate degree entry-level, and who would be surprised if “Standards and Policies” continue to change in order to advance that vision?
It’s up to us, those who appreciate the value of associate degree career preparation, to take action to preserve and strengthen that entry-level. Accredited associate degree programs are the primary providers of respiratory therapists, and no evidence has been presented that baccalaureate and master’s degree program graduates are exclusively needed to meet current employer and workforce needs.
CoARC has asked for feedback on the proposed standard, so if you haven’t already done so, I would encourage you to send a letter expressing your concerns. If we are to succeed, we must unite our voices, and make our case heard, and we can do so by all getting behind NN2RC efforts to defend the associate degree entry-level for Respiratory Care. The NN2RC Board recently adopted a bold new strategic plan that we think positions us to act decisively in defense of associate degree entry-level respiratory care. But we need your membership and your active support. If you haven’t already joined NN2RC, please do so now. If you have colleagues who care about associate degree entry level, and who haven’t yet joined, please urge them to do so, as well. In order to effectively advocate, NN2RC needs to have you and your colleagues and students behind us, so don’t put this off. Do it now!
A successful respiratory care career pathway must include associate degree, baccalaureate degree programs and even graduate-level programs. Please do not sit by passively and watch the associate degree foundation for this professional pathway be eroded away!
Dr. Carolyn O'Daniel, NN2RC President