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Respiratory Therapist Instructor Helps Students Learn from Failures

When Bill Rosandick came home after almost six years in the Philippines, he didn’t know what career direction to take.


After high school he earned a degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management and spent a few years working at a ski resort in upper Michigan. He joined the Peace Corps in Southeast Asia and spent two years working with malnourished children. Next he worked in a refugee camp helping Indochinese refugees find sponsors and resettle in the U.S.


His own resettlement was somewhat difficult too. “I was sort of aimlessly wandering,” he recalls.


A Mid-State Technical College student counselor suggested he pursue respiratory therapy as a career. “I didn’t even know what that was,” he admits. Rosandick learned that the field involved working with people, and thought it might be a good match for his past experience.


He enrolled in the Respiratory Therapy (RT) program at Mid-State where his mother was a campus administrator at the Wisconsin Rapids campus. After graduating, Rosandick was hired by St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield.


“As an RT your specialty is the lungs,” he said. “You are also a resource person for other health care personnel.”


In 1995 Rosandick became a preceptor for Mid-State RT students during their clinical rotation at the hospital. In 2007, he became director of clinical education.


As an instructor, Rosandick doesn’t give students the answers, he helps them find their own. “We go over the current topic information, practice competencies in the lab and then students achieve these same competencies on real patients in the clinical setting,” he explains. “Sometimes students don’t achieve their competencies on the first attempt. We ask, ‘What would you do differently?’ That way, hopefully they learn from situations where things don’t go right.”


A firm believer in technical education, Rosandick takes pride in Mid-State graduates who are skilled and able to pass national exams and become registered respiratory therapists.


Every 10 years, representatives of the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) visit the campus to observe and evaluate the program. “They said we were doing great,” Rosandick announced.