SSU Teacher teaches college students to breathe simply

Jan. 22 – Amy France, director of the respiratory therapy program at PORTSMOUTH-Shawnee State University, wants students majoring in her program to be prepared for an area with high skill needs. Throughout her undergraduate years, she helps her students work towards exceptional achievement.

“It’s less important whether you get a 3 or a 1 on this test than it is to ask, ‘Are you knowledgeable and prepared?'” she said.

France has worked at SSU for over 15 years and graduated from the university’s respiratory therapy program in 2001. For the last twelve years she has served as the program’s director and has been encouraged to increase the visibility of her career to meet the demands of the current field.

“In the state of Ohio alone, we’re short of 800 to 900 respiratory therapists,” she said.

The five-year program at SSU combines classroom, laboratory, and clinical educational experiences. SSU graduates have found careers in hospitals, general practitioners, sleep disorders centers, public health research organizations, home health care agencies, retirement centers, and many others. In an attempt to meet demand in this field, France has seen its senior class recruited for jobs while they were still graduating.

“They’re constantly being followed by hospitals like Ohio State, Southern Ohio Medical Center, King’s Daughters, University of Cincinnati, Mount Carmel — all those places come up here and say, ‘Hey, we want you.'” she said.

The SSU Respiratory Therapy program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care. France encourages incoming students to explore the professional field, especially as demand for new therapists increases.

“Shade and see what a therapist does,” she advised. “Some people fall in love and some don’t. If you look into the life of a respiratory therapist, you’ll find out whether you love it or not.”

To learn more about the Shawnee State University respiratory therapy program, visit

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