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SMS West Plains is trying to help meet a shortage of respiratory therapists by offering a new degree program. KSMU's Missy Shelton reports.
In June, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education agreed to let the university offer an associate degree in respiratory therapy.
Gary Barker is director of the respiratory therapy.
Barker says respiratory therapists do important work in hospitals and medical centers.
Barker says respiratory therapists play an important role in helping patients who have major surgery. For example, he says they're part of the team that helps patient who have had open heart surgery.
Barker says 17 students began taking pre-requisites for the respiratory therapy program this summer.
Barker says respiratory therapy is a good career for students interested in the medical field.
Along with the respiratory therapy degree, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education also authorized the S-M-S West Plains campus to offer an associate degree in entrepreneurship.