Rowan College of South Jersey (RCSJ) hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on May 1, on the Gloucester Campus, celebrating the newly completed Inspira Health Sciences Center.
The two-story 27,390-square-foot Inspira Health Sciences Center will be home to the new Respiratory Therapy program, RCSJ’s current Exercise Science program, and the future Medical Technician and Surgical Technician programs.
All the new Health Sciences Center labs were designed with Inspira Health guidance. They deconstructed a Mullica Hill operating room lab so they could rebuild a surgical lab at RCSJ. Counter heights and stool heights are specific to the type of work students will be hired to do as a medical technician, such as microscope versus seated specimen work. The respiratory therapy lab space may look roomy, but it’s properly spaced to accommodate all the necessary equipment for student training including real oxygen.
“Our Respiratory therapist colleagues from Inspira were critical to the design of the teaching and learning space. The clinical experts defined the space needed for equipment and hands on instruction. On the second floor, the learning space for the clinical Medical Technician and Surgical Technician programs was created with input from our colleagues at Inspira,” said Dr. Susan Hall, Dean of Nursing and Health Professions at RCSJ.
The Respiratory Therapy Program (RTP) is the first program to emerge from research and development of this premier partnership. Thirty seats will be available for the Fall 2023 RTP cohort. All four years of the program will be taught in the Inspira Health Sciences Center. Next up will be a Medical Technician Program and then Surgical Technician.
“As president of RCSJ, my focus is connecting education with industry. Over the past several years, I’ve talked with industry leaders asking, ‘What credentials does your current workforce need? Who will you need to hire—and with what skills—for future growth?’ That’s how RCSJ’s premier partnership with Inspira was born—collaborating to educate and employ the South Jersey community,” said Frederick Keating, president, RCSJ.
The RTP is an exciting new degree opportunity offered at Rowan University, in partnership with RCSJ and Rowan-Virtua School of Osteopathic Medicine. Respiratory Therapy is a 2+2 program, meaning the first two years of study are provided through RCSJ faculty, and the last two years through Rowan University faculty, all on the RCSJ-Gloucester Campus.
As a Health Science, Respiratory Therapy pathway major at RCSJ Gloucester, students will take courses to prepare an application to the Bachelor of Science Respiratory Therapy (BSRT) Entry to Practice Track. The BSRT program at Rowan University holds provisional accreditation from the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC).
“The 2+2 structure of the program promotes access and affordability and will produce highly skilled respiratory therapists to meet urgent demand in the healthcare workforce in our region,” said Ali A. Houshmand, president, Rowan University.
RCSJ’s current Exercise Science program is a “3+1” with Rowan University, which concludes with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Fitness Management, allowing graduates to pursue careers as a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, athletic director, sports facility or health club manager, physical education teacher, or wellness director.
This will be the first time that RCSJ Exercise Science faculty will be able to offer students a lab day and a class day at the same time due to having adequate space to fit all the equipment along with the students. Exercise Science majors will also have access to SMART technology during their training. April 22, 2023, marked the one-year anniversary of the Inspira Health premier parwith RCSJ.
To date, 193 Inspira employees have taken advantage of furthering their education at RCSJ through this partnership receiving a 50 percent tuition and fee discount. For Inspira employees interested in the 3+1 Nursing program, Inspira will pay for their last year of education at Rowan University “in full.”
In addition to the employee discount, scholarships are available through 25, $2,000 Inspira Creates Pathways Scholarships that are awarded yearly. The scholarship will be awarded to students enrolled in Nursing and Health Professions degree programs as well as healthcare- related Career Certificate programs at RCSJ with a 3.0 GPA.
Residents of Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties are eligible to apply for the Inspira Creates Pathways Scholarship. Five scholarships are designated to Inspira Health Employee dependents, 10 to current and new students who received their high school diploma or equivalent prior to 2023, and 10 to incoming freshmen who received their high school diploma or equivalent in 2023.
Offering a selection of associate degrees, credit, and non-credit certifications, more than 30 healthcare programs are available to RCSJ students and Inspira staff looking to advance or upskill their current roles. From Nursing to Nutrition, Physical Therapy to Radiography, and Sonography to Peer Recovery, the College’s relationship with Inspira serves to strengthen the knowledge and experience of RCSJ graduates entering the workforce.
For more information about the Inspira Health Sciences Center, the Inspira Health Premier Partnership, RCSJ tuition discounts for Inspira employees, scholarships, or any of our Nursing and Health Profession degree programs, visit RCSJ.edu/Inspira.