Grant Provides New Technology for Respiratory Care

respiratory care students being instructed in class

Breathing is at the center of respiratory care. When new breathing technology becomes available, Volunteer State Community College works to bring it into the classroom. The Respiratory Care program recently received a $10,000 grant for a MetaNeb system. The educational grant was provided by the device manufacturer, Hill-Rom.

“The MetaNeb provides two therapies at once. It delivers medication, while also internally loosening up secretions by sending gentle pulsations into the patient’s lungs,” said program director Kim Christmon.

“This is what the hospitals are using now,” said student Eric Gilly of White House. “Getting to work with it here in the classroom will definitely help me in the hospital setting. This puts students ahead of the curve.”

“We have an old version here,” said clinical director Mallory Higginbotham-Clifton. “It’s a positive airway pressure device. A lot of facilities are moving to the MetaNeb. Now our students can see it here first and have a knowledge base before they head out into the field.”

The students learn to operate the MetaNeb system in conjunction with the other high-tech equipment in the Vol State Respiratory Care lab. It’s set up with hospital beds and mannequins so that students can practice medical procedures. The two-year Vol State program leads to an associate of applied science (A.A.S.) degree. But it’s not just a matter of students graduating, they have to be well-prepared to pass two national credentialing exams from the National Board of Respiratory Care.

“Our recent cohort of graduates have a 100 percent, first-time pass rate for the Therapist Multiple Choice exam and obtained the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential.” Christmon said. “Their scores were high enough to be able to challenge the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) exam. All of the graduates who have taken the RRT have obtained the credential and passed it on the first attempt, as well. We’re very proud.”

The credentials allow students to work as respiratory therapists in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices. For more information about the Respiratory Care program at Vol State visit


Pictured: Kim Christmon (left) and Mallory Higginbotham-Clifton (center-right) watch as student Samantha Damron of Gallatin acts as the patient, and student Eric Gilly of White House (right) explains how the device is used.