TRU Respiratory Therapy students want to help you sleep

By Adam Donnelly
November 22, 2016 - 4:59pm Updated: November 22, 2016 - 5:39pm

KAMLOOPS — Do you have trouble sleeping? Does your significant other keep you up a night with their snoring?

The answer to your sleep problems might be at Thompson Rivers University, where the students in the Respiratory Therapy Program are looking for patient referrals for their sleep clinic.

WATCH: Full report by Adam Donnelly

The familiar beep beep beep sound of an Electrocardiogram. For the Respiratory Therapy Program at TRU, it’s a useful tool for teaching students, and it’s just one of the many hands-on learning opportunities students of the program get.

“In high school, I remember thinking in math class ‘when am I ever going to use this?’ …With this program, it’s more hands-on, and you’re learning what you’re going to be doing in the profession later on,” Allie Struss, who’s a second-year student, explained.

Respiratory Therapists can work in some different health care settings but often end up in hospitals, working in critical care applications, which drew Bryana Thacker to the three year Respiratory Therapist Diploma Program at TRU.

“That’s a big opportunity,” Thacker told CFJC Today. “Work in the ER, the ICU, NICU, the ORs. Things like that just really made me excited to come back to school.”

One of the important learning outcomes of the program is how to deal with patients in a real world application.

“We do run a Sleep Clinic, all year round,” Lindsay Engberg explained. Engberg came from Thunder Bay, ON to attend TRU’s Respiratory Therapy program. “The students, there's about 80 of us. We all need to see a patient per semester, so that means we need lots of patients coming in.”

Doctors refer patients to the TRU Sleep Centre, but once they’ve been referred, they’re in the capable hands of students like Lindsay, Allie, or Bryana. There aren’t any beds in the Sleep Centre at TRU. Patients take home the testing equipment, then return it to the clinic, where the information gathered is downloaded and analysed in the lab

“[When] they bring that back to our clinic, we plug it into computers, and download the data,” Engberg explained. From there, the students can consult with instructors, their professors, and the in-house Respiratory Therapist to see if it’s worth continuing to work with the patient.

Much like nursing students, RT students have a strong desire to help people

For Struss: “It’s putting that patient interaction with the learning.”

And according to Thacker “It’s a very exciting environment, you get the adrenaline going, and when you see those people pull through, it’s very rewarding.”

If you, or someone you know could benefit from a visit to the Sleep Clinic, you can ask your doctor, or visit the TRU Sleep Centre website.


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