The need for RTs has grown exponentially over the past year, but many RT programs still have plenty of open spots for potential students. We spoke with one RT student, Mia Isaac, about her experience so far in an RT program and how COVID-19 has impacted it. We’ve shared Mia’s responses to our questions below.
Where did you first hear about respiratory therapy?
“I first heard about respiratory therapy through a family friend who is an RT. I had heard of it but didn’t really know what it entailed until I started researching medical careers, and the duties of the job stuck out to me.”
Why did you choose respiratory therapy as a degree?
“I chose to go to RT school because I wanted to be in a field that helped people and I was always intrigued by all things medical while growing up. I have siblings with medical needs so we would go to the local children’s hospital often and I got to learn and see a lot. It made me want to be a part of that when I was older, so I knew that being an RT was a great choice for me.”
How has your experience been as a student so far?
“Being a student is one of my favorite things – I’ve always loved learning, so being a part of a fast-paced learning environment is a challenge, but I love it. We have learned so much over the course of the past year and a half and I can’t believe I’ll be graduating this coming July already; it has truly flown by.”
How has COVID impacted your studies?
“Being a student when COVID hit was an adjustment. Going from hands on to online learning overnight was intimidating, especially when you are learning such important topics. Once I got a routine down and focused on building healthy habits, online school has been much easier to navigate than I first expected.”
Do you have any clinical experience? If so, what?
“So far, I’ve had two clinical rotations and I learned so much at both. Both clinicals were during COVID, so my first hands on experience in the hospital was different than many. It was eye opening to see how COVID affected not only the patients, but the healthcare workers themselves. It was emotionally challenging to see so much sickness and suffering, but it confirmed to me that I chose the right field because I was surrounded by so many strong, smart, and caring healthcare workers and RTs.”
What specialty area are you wanting to go into?
“I want to have experience with a little bit of everything, but two goals for my career are working in the NICU and traveling (such as Respiratory Therapists Without Borders). I have yet to do my NICU rotation but working in the NICU has been a goal of mine since I started the program. It’s such a challenging job, and I am inspired by the NICU RTs and RNs who care for those babies as it takes a strong person to do so. I also hope to travel to places in need of RT equipment, training, or medical care, and to be able to use my skills and resources as an RT to help those in need.”
What is your advice to anyone thinking of going to school for respiratory therapy?
“My advice to anyone thinking of going to RT school is to always remember why you chose this program and this field. It will be tough at times and you may not feel smart enough or capable enough, but if you have a solid foundation driving you and you are passionate about what you are doing you will be able to accomplish your goals and go far in this field.”
If you or someone you know is interested in the respiratory therapy profession have them check out Be An RT. There you will find plenty of resources to help you get started in the RT profession.
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