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Flexible UNB program is a breath of fresh air for respiratory therapists

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jun 14, 2023

Category: UNB Saint John

Tiffany Marie Whitty is a respiratory therapist in P.E.I. with a diploma from the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC). She always wanted to complete her bachelor's degree but never thought it was possible. Then she learned about a program she could do online through the University of New Brunswick.

“My work, my family and my life are in P.E.I. Balancing studies, work and my family can be tricky. But I attend [UNB) virtually and it totally works for me,” said Whitty, a first-year student in UNB’s bachelor of health sciences respiratory therapy (BHS RT) post-diploma entry program.

It’s a win for both students and a strapped healthcare system. Canada is experiencing a labour shortage of respiratory therapists due, in part, to the demands of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Canadians saw the vital role they played in the care of COVID-19 patients, respiratory therapists work in many other areas of the health-care system.

They are sought-after professionals who make a positive difference in the lives of their patients. Many respiratory therapists want to continue their education, but balancing a career and family life while upskilling can be difficult.

The program is open to respiratory therapists currently registered and in good standing with the New Brunswick Association of Respiratory Therapists (NBART). Exceptions have been made for qualified applicants outside of New Brunswick. The BHS RT program is equivalent to two years of full-time university study but it may be individualized to better suit the needs of each student.

Students can take courses virtually or in person and can enrol full or part-time. Whitty is taking courses virtually on a part-time basis and expects to graduate Spring 2025.

“Originally, I thought this type of learning was going to be a challenge for me,” said Whitty. “You must be disciplined in all aspects of your life, but this is something I am truly enjoying and will see through to graduation.”

The BHS RT program has also inspired Whitty to look toward the future.

“I can definitely see myself diving deeper and advancing my education even further,” she said. “This is step one.”

Learn more about the BHS RT program.