Respiratory Care Program Help Students with Asthma

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NVCC Respiratory Cares students, along with Program Director Margaret Guerrera, set up a two-day "Asthma Camp" at Waterbury’s Driggs Elementary school where they provided engaging educational activities that taught K-5 students ways to better manage their condition.

While many college students use spring break as a chance to travel to warmer climes and let loose, a group of Respiratory Care students at NVCC used part of their spring break to help local elementary students breathe easier. Twelve NVCC students, along with Program Director for Respiratory Care, Margaret Guerrera, traveled to Waterbury’s Driggs Elementary school on March 12 to set up an Asthma Camp. Their goal was to coordinate engaging educational events that would help the K-5 children learn more about their asthma and how to better manager it in a fun “camp-like” environment. Local non-profit organization Health 360 sponsored the event along with Waterbury Public Schools.  The choice to select Driggs Elementary as the camp site was intentional; Guerrera reports that a significant number of the students there have been diagnosed with asthma.  Some of the activities that students participated in included identifying things that trigger their asthma, learning about their medications and how to use their inhalers properly.  Participants also made lung models and learned how asthma affects their airways and they participated in a short physical activity followed by a breathing control exercise using pinwheels that helped them to catch their breath. 

The respiratory students were able to apply what they have learned in the program in a practical way.  Teaching the children about how asthma affects their lungs, how to properly take their medications and how to control their breathing when their asthma flares up was an invaluable experience for them as teaching in this way is an important part of what a Respiratory Therapist does on a daily basis. 

NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. said, “I salute our students and faculty for their generous commitment to making a difference in the communities we serve. Bravi!”

Guerrera noted that the program was a success and they will run the camp again on April 5th from 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. “I am proud of our students for their enthusiasm, initiative, creativity and commitment to serve our community,” Guerrera said.

The Respiratory Care program at NVCC is an associate degree-granting program designed to prepare students to enter the field of respiratory care with the skills necessary to practice as proficient and competent respiratory therapists. Respiratory care graduates are prepared to take the National Board for Respiratory Care Entry Level (CRT) and the Advanced Practitioner (RRT) Examinations. For more information on the program, visit: nv.edu/respiratory.

Naugatuck Valley Community College serves Beacon Falls, Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Cheshire, Danbury, Middlebury, Naugatuck, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Oxford, Prospect, Roxbury, Sherman, Southbury, Thomaston, Washington, Waterbury, Watertown and Woodbury. The College is located on a 110-acre campus at 750 Chase Parkway, Waterbury, Conn., and in Danbury at 190 Main Street. The College is one of 17 institutions governed by the Connecticut Board of Regents for Higher Education.