Respiratory care programs across the country have just graduated their 2022 senior classes, and these new grads are now stepping into their first jobs in the profession. So what can we expect from these newly minted RTs?
If Kasey Long, who just graduated from Vermont Technical College (VTC), is any indication, the future is bright.
A happy accident
“I had been waitlisted for the nursing program at VTC due to a late application and then was accepted for the following year, in 2020,” she said. “I was looking through the majors offered at VTC and found respiratory therapy.”
She didn’t know anything about the field, but she was intrigued enough to do a little research and talk to some therapists about what the job entailed.
“I decided respiratory sounded like the perfect job for me,” Long said. “I love everything about it.”
A big selling point for her was that her dad had COPD, and being an RT would give her the chance to help people just like him.
Long found the VTC program exciting and challenging, and her favorite course was anatomy and physiology.
“I love learning about the human body and different disease processes,” she said. “I really love how we, as respiratory therapists, get to specialize and really dig deep into all the topics related to respiratory.”
One thing about the program that surprised her was how quickly her instructors began encouraging her to seek employment. Of course, she figured that she would have to wait till she had the diploma in hand, but in this market, employers were getting in line to scoop up soon-to-be-grads in their final semester.
She accepted an offer from Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.
“I orient to the ICU, and then with experience and more specific training, will be able to work all over the hospital, from the emergency room to the neonatal ICU,” she said.
Long says her short-term goals for her new career center on gaining as much experience as possible and learning more about ventilators and patient care. She also wants to continue her education by keeping up with current practices.
Long-term, she has her sights set on working in some of the more challenging areas of the hospital, such as in the neonatal ICU, on the transport team, and the ECMO team. However, she knows she’ll need a higher degree to get there and plans to pursue her bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy.
She also wants to earn her specialty credentials in adult critical care, neonatal/pediatrics, transport, and ECMO.
“Hopefully, in 20 years, I’ll have gained enough experience and knowledge to work anywhere in the hospital,” Long said. “I’d like to work directly under a physician and diagnose and treat respiratory patients. I also like the idea of working in pulmonary rehab or possibly teaching.”
Congratulations to Kasey Long and all the other new graduates joining our ranks. We wish you all long and rewarding careers in respiratory care