By Bridget Nash Staff Writer
Four Autry Technology Center graduates will represent the state during the American Association of Respiratory Care’s national convention, which takes place Tuesday in San Antonio.
The graduates will compete against 49 other teams, one from each state, in what is known as the “Sputum Bowl.” Sputum is matter that is ejected from the respiratory tract.
“It’s kind of an unattractive name for a pretty cool thing,” said Autry respiratory care program director Deryl Gulliford, RRT, MHA, JD. “It’s an academic championship.”
“It’s like quiz bowl,” said Kaci Bliss.
Bliss is one of the four respiratory therapy program graduates who will compete in the Sputum Bowl. Also competing will be Abigail Padilla, Nick Almack and Dante Clark. All are registered respiratory therapists and licensed respiratory care practitioners.
The team, which is part of the program’s first graduating class, won the state Sputum Bowl in June, which earned them the place to compete in the national competition.
“We’re extremely proud of our first graduating class,” Gulliford said. “They beat some significantly larger programs on their way to the state championship.”
Autry’s first graduating class of the respiratory therapy program consisted of nine students, who all are working in the respiratory care field.
“The way the hospitals have received them and the feedback we get from the hospitals where they are working has been outstanding,” Gulliford said.
The team will competitively answer questions in several categories, including pharmacology, anatomy and equipment.
What would a national Sputum Bowl championship mean to this Oklahoma team?
“Recognition in our field,” Almack said.
Even if they don’t gain a national title, the class still has two state titles and successful job placement.
“We’re proud of them,” said Jim Grantz, RRT, Autry respiratory care clinical director.