All posts by Alexa Heinrich

Respiratory Care program receives seventh consecutive award

Three respiratory care faculty memories show the proper way to use respiratory equipment on a mannequin.

The Respiratory Care program for St. Petersburg College (SPC) was recently notified that it is “among a select group of programs” that will be recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC)—the program’s accrediting body—to receive the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award.

This is the seventh consecutive year the program has received this award, the first one being in 2014, making SPC one of a small percentage of respiratory care educational programs in the nation to consistently meet these criteria. The honor is based on the program’s record of graduate success on the discipline’s credentialing exam, student success, retention, on-time graduation rates, and graduate and employer satisfaction with the program.  

Consistent Success

SPC offers a very well-established and incredibly successful Respiratory Care program and has consistently produced highly qualified Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT).

Since the program began at the college in 1971, SPC students have continually performed significantly higher than the national average on the board examination for licensure, and employment for graduates of the program seeking placement in the field has remained at nearly 100 percent.

The program uses the latest technology to teach students in the high-tech, high-demand field, and SPC’s on-site simulation hospital helps students feel comfortable practicing skills in a controlled setting. SPC offers several different credentials within the program including a Health Services Administration B.A.S. Degree with a concentration in Respiratory Care and two different certificates.

To learn more about the SPC Respiratory Care program as well as other available programs at the college, be sure to visit

2020 Nursing Grads Receive Pins

A male nursing student receives his nursing pin while holding a yellow rose.

Under normal circumstances, earning a degree in nursing is challenging. The classes and clinicals are demanding, and long hours are spent studying human anatomy and how to properly care for patients.

The year 2020 added an extra level of difficulty for nursing students at St. Petersburg College, but in true Titan fashion, they powered through and were rewarded for their hard work with a pinning ceremony on Thursday, Dec. 10, at the Clearwater Campus. The event celebrated students from the Spring and Fall 2020 graduating classes for the SPC College of Nursing.

Of the more than 2,000 degrees and credentials SPC awarded this fall, 193 of them were Associate in Science in Nursing and 129 were Bachelor of Science in Nursing. In the Spring Term, there were 162 A.S. degrees and 93 B.S. degrees in nursing awarded.

Close up of a nursing student's dark blue mask that reads hashtag Titan Nurse on it in gold lettering.

While normally the campus auditorium would be packed with graduates, guests, and nursing faculty for such an occasion, the college opted for a socially-distanced ceremony spread out over three hours to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Graduating students were assigned time slots based on their clinical groups to avoid overcrowding, and everyone in attendance was required to wear a face mask at all times. Students and their guests were also staggered to maintain a six-foot distance from others outside of their household.

Despite the adjustments to the ceremony, it was still a joyous occasion filled with cheering and smiling eyes. Representatives from Suncoast Credit Union—which sponsored this year’s event—congratulated students and handed them the customary yellow rose before they ascended to the stage. Dr. Louisana Louis, Dean of the College of Nursing, and Dr. Matthew Liao-Troth, Vice President of Academic Affairs, were also in attendance and bumped elbows with newly pinned graduates as they walked off stage in place of the traditional handshake.

Rebecca and Deborah Turner, daughter and mother, stand on stage together after receiving their nursing pins.

The Fall 2020 graduating class included more than one parent-child pair graduating, including mother and daughter Deborah and Rebecca Turner, as well as a father, Shawn Conrad, and his twin daughters, Kayla and Karlee.

Deborah and Rebecca celebrated their joint accomplishment with a picture together on stage while Shawn hopped offstage after receiving his pin and stepped into the role of proud dad, cheering on his daughters alongside their family.

SPC is immensely proud of this graduating nursing class and all of our students who completed their education during a particularly challenging year. Congratulations, Titan nurses!

EMS Faculty Pens New Book

Entrance to the emergency room of a hospital.

St. Petersburg College faculty member Paul Serino has published a new book to help those interested in pursuing a career as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or Paramedic. Serino is a member of the college’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) faculty.

If You Didn’t Write It Down, It Never Happened: Critical EMS Reporting Skills for EMTs and Paramedics is Serino’s second publication that focuses on emergency medicine and comes less than a year after publishing his first book, Not So Basic!: Tips to Help You Through the EMT Course, in December 2019.

Cover of Paul Serino's new book. Shows an EMS worker writing a report in front of an ambulance.

This new book is “designed to shine a light on one of the most frequently overlooked skills in a first responders toolbox, the critical ability to write a strong, accurate and detailed EMS report,” according to a summary of the publication.

It will focus on different approaches to style and formatting when it comes to reporting, as well as the various questions and details an EMT or Paramedic may want to consider documenting in their summary reports. The book will also take a look at the hierarchy of professionals who would be looking over an EMT or Paramedic’s final report.

In addition to Serino’s two books, he has also had several articles published with the national EMS trade magazine, EMS World.

Serino has been with SPC since 2016 when he moved to Tampa with his family after working as a firefighter and teaching EMS classes for the University of New Mexico (UNM). He originally earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from UNM and worked for a short time in television and radio before deciding to become a Paramedic.

Soon after working with Albuquerque Ambulance in 1999, Serino began Paramedic school at Eastern New Mexico in Roswell, New Mexico, and graduated with National Academic Honors.

To learn more about SPC’s EMS programs and explore our available credentials, visit the college’s website.

Respiratory Care receives CoARC award

The St. Petersburg College (SPC) Respiratory Care program was recently notified that it is “among a select group of programs that will be recognized by the Committee on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) to receive the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award.” This is the sixth consecutive year the program has received this award,  making SPC one of a small percentage of respiratory care educational programs in the nation to meet these criteria so consistently.

This award is based on the program’s record of graduate success on the discipline’s credentialing exam, student success, retention, and on-time graduation rates, and graduate and employer satisfaction with the program.

SPC offers a very well established and highly successful Respiratory Therapist (RT) program, having produced highly qualified Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) since 1971. The program uses the latest technology to teach students in this high-tech, high-demand field, and the on-site simulation hospital helps students feel comfortable practicing skills in a controlled setting.

To learn more about the Respiratory Care programs at SPC, please visit

Third-grader shows Vet Tech a little love

A small blonde boy holds an SPC bag in front of a presentation covered in pictures of animals up for adoption.

The lives of SPC’s College of Veterinary Technology housed animals were recently enhanced through an elementary school’s community service program and a child with a soft spot for animals.

A boy, holding a ferret, at the SPC Veterinary Technology Center

Owen McBride’s third-grade class was asked to select and complete a community service project. Because he loves animals, Owen decided to have his project benefit SPC’s Veterinary Technology Center. He collected blankets, towels, and toys from neighbors, friends, and family, and he also purchased treats and toys with funds he raised.

“Owen just loves animals. He chooses to help animals every year for this project,” said mom, Jennifer McBride, who is the Associate Director, Accreditation & Assessment—Institutional Research & Effectiveness at SPC.

Owen’s school tasks its students annually with a community service project. In previous years, Owen has chosen other animal-centered organizations like Southeastern Guide Dogs, for which he made dog collars (with the help of Mom and Dad) based on a pattern from SGD’s website. At the end of their projects, students show off their charitable deeds at a school fair. Owen went the extra mile for this by creating a poster that showcased every adoptable animal available at Vet Tech and encouraging everyone who viewed his project to adopt a new pet. He also handed out SPC swag.

A little boy and little girl stand in front of a table loaded with donations for Vet Tech.

Everything Owen collected was recently dropped off at Vet Tech by him and his twin sister Maddie. They were both given a tour of the facilities and got to meet the animals that would be benefiting from their generosity. Owen was especially impressed with the number of different animals that Vet Tech cares for and the different aspects of veterinary medicine that students learn while in the programs.

To learn more about the Veterinary Technology programs at SPC and how you can help change a pet’s life, please visit the SPC website or our page on Petfinder for animals available for adoption.

HEC Student Aims for a Career Helping Others

“The biggest thing for me, that surprised me, is how much the professors care,” said Ashley Hamilton, Orthotics & Prosthetics student at St. Petersburg College. “They’ll sacrifice their free time just so they can help you.”

Ashley moved from Georgia to Florida in pursuit of her education. She comes from a family of nurses and, while also harboring an interest in engineering, hoped to pursue a career in healthcare. Rather than let go of one of her passions, Ashley found a happy marriage between the two in the Orthotics & Prosthetics Technology A.S. program at SPC’s Caruth Health Education Center in Pinellas Park. The associate degree is the first and only two-year program of its kind in the state of Florida.

Ashley Hamilton (top, second from the left) with some of her fellow Orthotics & Prosthetics classmates outside at SPC’s Caruth Health Education Center.

Ashley is set to complete the program later this semester and will be pursuing a career as a prosthetic technician, a position that assists clinicians by developing and fabricating patient prosthesis. Her primary goal is to channel her energy into helping those in need.

To learn more about the Orthotics & Prosthetics Technology program at St. Petersburg College and other SPC healthcare programs, visit