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Brennan Wetherbee, a senior majoring in respiratory care at Venango College of Clarion University has earned the 2013 Respiratory Student of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Society for Respiratory Care (PSRC).  This award is presented annually by the PSRC.  Program faculty from each respiratory care program in Pennsylvania are asked to choose one student who demonstrates both clinical and academic excellence and exhibits strong potential to contribute to the field of respiratory care in the future.

“Brennan excels in his respiratory coursework and clinical site performance,” said Professor Renee Bloom, Chair of the Department of Allied Health.  “His hospital preceptors speak highly of his skills, his attitude and his professionalism toward his patients, but they have been most impressed by his motivation to learn.”

The anticipated graduation date for Brennan and his fellow respiratory classmates is August 2014.  Brennan, an Erie resident, is humbled by the recognition. 

“I really did not think that I was doing anything out of the ordinary.  I love the profession and cannot wait to work in the field.  All of the students work very hard because it is a rigorous program that demands excellence,” said Brennan.

“We at Venango College of Clarion University are very proud of Brennan and look forward to his entering this specialized profession,” said Professor Michelle Moore.

Clarion University's Associate of Science in Respiratory Care program prepares students to be registered respiratory therapists. Respiratory care practitioners evaluate and care for individuals who have breathing and other cardiopulmonary ailments ranging from moderate to life-threatening. Respiratory care practitioners work closely with other health care professionals to provide a wide range of diagnostic tests and therapy to patients.

The field of respiratory care affords exciting opportunities for career diversity. After attaining status as an advanced-level respiratory care practitioner, individuals may specialize in areas such as intensive care, neonatal and pediatric respiratory care, and polysomnography, which is the diagnosis of sleep disorders.  Additional specialties exist and are rapidly evolving.

Respiratory care is a high-priority occupation because of the demand for qualified respiratory therapists. Because of the aging population and the increasing incidence of respiratory disease, the need for respiratory care practitioners is anticipated to continue. Job opportunities for respiratory care practitioners exist in hospitals, home health agencies, physician's offices and other settings. 

The Department of Allied Health at Venango College of Clarion University will assist prospective students, who are interested in exploring the field of respiratory care, including the scheduling of a career shadowing opportunity.  Interested students may contact Ms. Debra Weaver in the School of Nursing and Allied Health at 814-676-6591, ext. 1250 or email

12/9/2013 8:00 AM

Venango College Senior Named 2013 Respiratory Student of the Year