By Mohammed Al Ahmari, PhD, RRT
Celebrations were held the last week of April 2015 commemorating the 27th Anniversary of the Respiratory Care (RC) Program at Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. Formal celebration events concluded with the 2nd Annual Respiratory Care Student Symposium on April 30th. The Respiratory Care Program began in 1988 and through 2007 only granted diplomas to its graduates. Since that time, the program has been upgraded to a baccalaureate program and is one of only three RC BS Programs outside of the United States that holds International Education Recognition System (IERS) Level III Approval.
Taking a step forward to advance the level of respiratory education and ultimately patient care, the Prince Sultan Respiratory Care Program offered the first “Bridging” Program in Saudi Arabia for former graduates to complete the bachelor program. The College opened its doors for former students to return and seek their bachelor degree in its newly initiated “Bridging Program”. In February 2015, the College was able to proudly celebrate the graduation of the first cohort of bridging students who successfully earned their Bachelor Degree in Respiratory Care.
The 1st Annual Respiratory Care Student Symposium was conducted in 2014 with participation from Dammam University students. With an increased level of interest and involvement in 2015 there was added student participation from Inaya College, Dammam University, Jizan University and King Faisal University. Furthermore, the symposium has become a major event for RC students, who were diligently involved in the activities and attentive as an audience.
In addition to the scientific sessions, some of the activities presented in the 2nd Annual Respiratory Care Student Symposium included an RC competition between participating universities, as well as a “The Best Video contest”. Department Heads representing various Hospitals served as judges on the Executive Committee to determine the winners of the competitions. Because of the overwhelming popularity of the event among the RC students, Dr. AlAhmari, Vice Dean for Postgraduate Studies & Research, and Head of the Respiratory Care Program announced that the symposium will continue as a respiratory care student conference in 2016.