North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issues proclamation recognizing this week, Oct. 21 through Oct. 26, as National Respiratory Care Week

Megan Schneider holds ND Governor Doug Burgum’s Respiratory Care Week Proclamation at the State Capitol

BISMARCK, ND — University of Mary’s Megan Schneider, coordinator and instructor for the registered respiratory therapy (RRT) to bachelor of science in respiratory therapy (BSRT) online program, is a nominee for president of the North Dakota Society for Respiratory Care (NDSRC). She is currently serving a two-year term (2018-2020) as treasurer of the NDSRC.

Schneider is part of a premier and nationally recognized program with the CHI St. Alexius Health/ University of Mary Respiratory Therapy program. The national accrediting body, Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC), bestowed its Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award to the University of Mary program for the sixth time in eight years.

From a program effectiveness perspective, the CoARC views the RRT credential as a measure of a program’s success in inspiring its graduates to achieve their highest educational and professional aspirations. One hundred forty nine out of 430 programs received the RRT Credentialing Success Award in 2019, only 26 programs have received the award six or more times.

Schneider would like to continue to share her expertise, insights and passion for the patient care community within the NDSRC and its contributing members.

“Not all that long ago I found a passion for patient care and healthcare as whole,” explained Schneider, a Bismarck native, who earned her bachelor’s of science degree in respiratory therapy and master’s of science degree in business with a concentration in healthcare from the University of Mary. “And actually, it was as if it found me, as if I was being called to a life of love for the patient care community. This passion took form as a career in respiratory therapy. But this passion of mine meant so much more to me, it functioned as more than a career. Respiratory therapy is my vocation. It is not enough to just earn the degree; you must contribute to it and courageously defend it. I have experienced several areas within the field of respiratory care, and each time I aimed to contribute more to my profession than the last.”

The NDSRC is a chartered affiliate of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) since 1988. According to its website, its mission is to “promote the advancement and continued development of the profession by providing educational programs, adopting uniform standards of practice, representing the profession to all communities, and serving as a resource for matters related to cardiopulmonary care to all communities of interest.”

Respiratory therapists asses and treat patients with both acute and chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. That may include treating diseases, infections or viruses of the cardiopulmonary system, such as lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia. RTs may also provide life-saving care to trauma patients. Outside of the hospital setting, RTs may work in pulmonary rehabilitation clinics performing rehab, home care settings or counseling patients on topics such as smoking cessation, etc. In addition to treatment, RTs are required to diagnose lung disease and breathing disorders, and then recommend the most appropriate treatment methods. Their work often includes examining patients, performing chest exams, and analyzing tissue specimens, to go along with being experts in the machines and devices used to administer respiratory care treatments.

Since RTs play a vital role in the day to day health care system, it’s no wonder why North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum issued a proclamation recognizing this week, Oct. 21 through Oct. 26, as National Respiratory Care Week. The proclamation states that chronic lower respiratory disease has been listed among the leading causes of death. Respiratory Care Week not only serves to raise public awareness of respiratory diseases, but also recognize and applaud the efforts of respiratory therapists going back to school to advance their degree, as well as educators, like Schneider, who are dedicated and passionate in teaching and guiding the future of respiratory therapy.

The University of Mary RT program is nearing its 50th year of serving the needs of this region and beyond, and is only one of two programs in the state of North Dakota. Its online program, that Schneider heads, is in its third year.

To learn more about the University of Mary respiratory therapy program visit