Grundman finds opportunity and rewards in high-demand career

Photo of NDSU respiratory care student Claire Grundman

“I knew that I wanted to do something with more direct patient care which prompted me to look at other majors and that’s what prompted me to look at respiratory care,” said Claire Grundman, a respiratory care major at NDSU.

“People rely on us to be knowledgeable in our field so we can all provide the best care possible to our patients,” said Grundman from Elk River, Minnesota. “Something I've learned about myself is how capable I am of this line of work,” she said. “At first it is intimidating, and very easy to think ‘how will I ever know all of this?’ But this is a wonderful program; they make us feel very prepared.”

Grundman counts a desire to care for others and empathy as important qualities to succeed.

“The best thing about respiratory care is knowing how important we are in the healthcare team. Respiratory therapists are involved in some of the most crucial moments of these patients’ lives,” said Grundman. “Having a job like that and knowing how big of a difference we make is important to me.”

She appreciates the fact that other staff turn to respiratory therapists with their questions about their patient’s airway management.

At NDSU, the respiratory care program includes two or more years of academic coursework and a 15-month full-time professional-level internship at Sanford Medical Center Fargo, where students’ class and clinical education are applied to the practice of respiratory care. Graduates are eligible to complete a series of national certifying exams leading to the registered respiratory therapist (RRT) credential.  This program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).

A 14 percent increase in demand for respiratory care jobs is projected through 2031, according to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics. The median pay in this field was just over $61,000 in the U.S. in 2021.

“When I started the internship. I felt like I was doing what I was meant to do,” explained Grundman. “This program has given me all the experience that I need to feel prepared to start my new job after graduation.” She plans to work at a Fargo healthcare facility after she graduates in December 2022.

Learn more about Grundman’s path to respiratory care here

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