A Breath of Fresh Air: Respiratory Therapy Program Appoints New Director in Wendy Guzenski, MSN, RN, RRT
Wendy Guzenski, MSN, RN, RRT, is the new Program Director of the Respiratory Therapy (RT) program at Marywood. Despite her short time at the University, she is quite experienced in the field of respiratory therapy. Prior to joining Marywood's faculty, she served as a faculty member at Luzerne County Community College for nearly six years.
Guzenski classes cover much more than respiratory therapy. She teaches everything from assessment to cardiopulmonary pharmacology, in addition to the traditional RT program and an online course. The RT programs at Marywood University include a four-year degree program, as well as a two-year degree completion program for students who are already registered respiratory therapists (RRTs). Many current RT programs offer only associate degrees, but degree requirements in the profession are shifting towards requiring a four-year degree. Because of this, when Marywood established its RT program several years ago, it was designed to reflect these changes in the profession. Currently, Marywood University offers the only four-year RT program in the region
In addition to her position at Marywood, Guzenski works at Aveanna Healthcare as a per diem Registered Pediatric Nurse. “I definitely think it’s important to work in the field, because things are constantly changing," she said. Her hands-on experience in the field correlates to what she teaches in her classes, and it helps her to connect the academic side of healthcare to real world situations.
Guzenski said students who are interested in pursuing a respiratory therapy degree should have a solid grasp of mathematics, chemistry, and physics. Those already in the field, who are interested in the degree completion program, also should possess knowledge of assessing patients. She believes that it is crucial to know how to prioritize things in your career and in your life, especially since there are usually a small number of respiratory therapists in each hospital. “Everything is an emergency," she advises. “RTs must be calm under pressure and must be able to prioritize.”
Guzenski thinks more people are realizing the importance of respiratory therapy, especially because of the pandemic, and interest in the field is continuing to grow. She observed that the job stability of an RT is excellent, and the profession definitely rewards those who are willing to put in the effort. Due to this growing awareness and interest, more high school students interested in healthcare careers are considering RT as a professional option.