Crafton Hills College Respiratory Care students win first place in regional competition

IECN photo courtesy CHC
First place winners in the California Society for Respiratory Care (CSRC) Chapter II Tournament were, left to right, Crafton Hills College students David Iniguez, 27, Palm Desert; Nicholas Morris, 24, Yucaipa; and Emily Marting, 23, San Bernardino. The three proudly display the silver “Sputum Bowl” awarded to the first place team each year.

By Rachael Gustuson & Patrick Fite

The Crafton Hills College (CHC) respiratory care students proudly continued their championship ways, earning their fifth consecutive California Society for Respiratory Care (CSRC) annual academic competition, held this year at Loma Linda University (LLU).

The CSRC Chapter II Student “Sputum Bowl,” as the event is fondly called, is a regional college competition modeled after the old television program “College Bowl.” A moderator asks questions about the respiratory care field and teams comprised of three to four people answer the questions. The teams are asked questions pertaining to physiology, neonatal care, technical procedures, and pharmacology.

Once a team hits their buzzer, they have ten seconds to correctly answer the question, or the opposing team will get an opportunity to gain the point. The competition is fierce all the way down to “double elimination” and “sudden death.”

The competition was held at LLU during “student night,” which gives students the opportunity to meet potential employers and members of the respiratory care field.

This year, CHC competed against respiratory care students from LLU, San Joaquin Valley College, Mt. San Antonio College, and Concorde Career College. There were two teams from each college.

CHC Respiratory Care Director Kenneth Bryson was beaming with pride while talking about the win. He was impressed with the CHC students and was excited that potential employees from the respiratory care field were present.

“The experience can be nerve-racking,” Bryson said. “Whenever a group of students attends the competition and takes that seat in front of many, they’ve won my admiration, automatically.”

The CHC students were divided into two teams based on whether they were in the first-year Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) program or the second-year Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) program.

The CHC team winning first place was comprised of second-year students David Iniguez, 27, Palm Desert; Nicholas Morris, 24, Yucaipa; and Emily Marting, 23, San Bernardino.

“It was intense,” Marting said. “We didn’t practice at all. It was just based on what we had in our heads from class. We just went in like we knew it, and we did.”

“It was cool to see how happy Ken and the other instructors were,” she said. “The instructors were beaming.”

Teammate Morris said the team felt a lot of pressure at first because CHC’s previous teams had won the competition four years in a row. Also, one of the best teams competing against them had a team member who had completed CHC’s two-year program last year and was a member of CHC’s winning team last year. This year, the student was in a bachelor’s program.

“It felt great to win,” Morris said. “Ken said we beat one of the best teams he has seen.”
Morris couldn’t say enough about how proud he felt to be a part of the CHC Respiratory Care Program.

“Crafton teaches at a high level year round, not just when the Sputum Bowl is coming up,” Morris said. “The instructors are extremely intelligent and the program is structured very well, especially our clinical rotations.

“I think the big thing about Crafton is that not only do we learn a lot in the classroom, but we have standards that we have to achieve in the hospitals we rotate through. When you have both, it really sinks in and you retain much more knowledge.”

“I was so proud to represent CHC and that we took the number one spot in the competition,” Iniguez said. “I wasn’t even thinking about first place because there were so many teams competing. I was just focusing on the competition. They were strong. For us, the program at CHC equips us so well, we can be ready for anything anytime.

“I was proud to represent my school.”

Meanwhile, the CHC first-year team was comprised of Jaclyn Fierro, 24, San Bernardino; Maritza Lopez, 26, Moreno Valley; Mark Kibbe, 24, San Bernardino; and Jakob Tallent, 23, Menifee. Although the first-year team did not place, their only losses were to the CHC winning team and the LLU team.

The winning students have the opportunity to compete in the state competition scheduled for May 29-June 1 in San Jose, California. From there, winners will go on to national level competition, which will be held in Anaheim, California this year.

Respiratory Care is the allied health profession that cares for patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary systems. Conditions requiring respiratory care include asthma, emphysema, chronic obstructive lung disease, pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, infant respiratory syndrome, and conditions caused by trauma.
CHC’s Respiratory Care Program is a fully accredited program having one of the highest first-time pass rates nationally for the Respiratory Care Board exams.

The CHC Respiratory Care Program is affiliated with Redlands Community Hospital, Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Medical Center, Riverside Community Hospital, Riverside County Regional Medical Center, St. Bernardine Medical Center, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Totally Kids Specialty Healthcare, Eisenhower Medical Center and Loma Linda University Medical Center.