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Ontario college sends respiratory therapists to work ahead of schedule

Last Updated Mar 26, 2020 at 12:28 pm EDT

An Ontario college says its final-year respiratory therapy students are getting to work weeks before graduating in an effort to prevent a shortage of such workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fanshawe College says it came to an agreement with the profession’s regulatory body, the College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario, to allow the students to join the workforce immediately.

The agreement affects 43 third-year students, who the school says have all done 36 of 40 weeks in “clinical hospital and community placements.”

Respiratory therapists help patients with their breathing through oxygen or intubation and ventilation.

While most who are diagnosed with COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, some suffer more severe respiratory effects.

Fanshawe College says that means respiratory therapists are more critical than ever, and hospitals are reporting a shortage.

The school says students will finish their studies online while working on the front lines of the pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 26, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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