As we all get ready to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday, we thought this would be a great time to ask RTs why they’re thankful they became respiratory therapists. We were inspired by the answers we received, and we think you will be too! Take a look —
I am thankful to be an RT because we are able to increase the quality and the care of people’s lives. We do it through a neb and a kind word at the bedside, by teaching someone how to walk and breathe easier or to cope with chronic illness, and by having the expertise to assist physicians with critical care ventilator patients. Every day is an opportunity for a new blessing.
— Anna Molsen, RRT, Palos Heights, IL
I am thankful to be an RT because of all the opportunities it has given me to help people. Top on that list would be my Dad; he was diagnosed with emphysema over 44 years ago but has never once had to be hospitalized for it. What a difference having a daughter as a respiratory therapist has made in his life. Great example of patient education controlling the disease.
— Ann Allen, BBS, RRT, Greenwood, SC
I’m thankful to be an RT because after 41 years who else could I possibly be?
— Philip M. Sorkin, RRT-NPS, Chatsworth, CA
I am thankful to be an RT because it has given me the knowledge, expertise, and integrity that allows me to make a difference in the life of an ill child. Being an RT has also allowed me to be integrated within a group of professionals that I can honestly say I am truly honored to know and work with. I am also thankful to be an RT as it has given me the ability to be part of the educational process, allowing me to share my years of experience with the brilliant therapists of tomorrow at Youngstown State University.
— Kelly L. Colwell, MRC, RRT-NPS, CPFT, AE-C, Youngstown, OH
I am thankful to be an RT because of the invaluable skills learned to save lives. As a therapist, I was able to assist the most fragile patients in NICU survive and now I am blessed to see many of those patients as thriving young people in their various activities in middle school and high school. The blessing is watching growth occur in children that survived because of the RT profession.
— Becky Byrd, BS, RRT-NPS, Amarillo, TX
I am thankful to be an RT because I am an integral part of our multidisciplinary neuromuscular clinic. I have the best team in the world! We work together to enhance and help prolong the quality of life for our patients with ALS and muscular dystrophy. I am truly blessed to join them in their journey through life!
— Sue Metcalfe, RRT-ACCS, Newark, CA
I am thankful to be an RT because it has given me the opportunity to help the respiratory impaired patient. More importantly, as an RT educator, I am given the awesome responsibility and opportunity to mold and shape young and aspiring RT students.
— Bill Galvin, MEd, RRT, FAARC, Gwynedd Valley, PA
I am thankful to be an RT because I feel throughout the years I HAVE made a difference. I also had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the best and most interesting and intelligent RTs ever!
— Carmela Picardi, RRT, Trenton, NJ
I am thankful to be an RT because I love what I do. I love to see my patient smile after liberation of a life support, or alleviation of respiratory distress. I play a vital role on the interdisciplinary team, and am respected in my workplace. I enjoy to hear “Call Respiratory.”
— Ahmed Hersi, RRT, Columbus, OH
I am thankful to be an RT because I have finally found my dream job. I enjoy all aspects of my job, the people I have met, the students I teach, and most importantly, the patients I help!
— Kathleen Henninger, RRT, Williamsville, NY
I am thankful to be an RT because I continue to learn and be challenged.
— Dabney M. Eidson, BS, RRT-NPS, Augusta, GA
I am thankful to be an RT because it is a very rewarding career.
— Denise Packard, BS, RRT-NPS, Salt Lake City, UT
I am thankful to be an RT because my training has given me the confidence to know that I can handle just about anything that’s thrown at me!
— Cheryl A. Hoerr, MBA, RRT, CPFT, FAARC, Rolla, MO
I am thankful that I am a respiratory therapist because I have gotten to work in so many environments, such as the NICU, ER, PFTs, education, transport, and the OR, with both adults and kids, and can’t imagine another career with that much variety of practice.
— Gail Dutcher, RRT, AE-C, RPFT, Plano, TX
I am thankful to be an RT because I get the privilege of witnessing miracles each day. Whether I’m witnessing a “birthday” in the delivery room or comforting a grieving family after a loss, I know that I impact the lives I touch each day and for that I am thankful.
— Samantha Davis, MS, RRT-NPS, AE-C, Boise, ID
I am thankful to be an RT because in my 37 years of practice I know that I am still making a difference in the quality and longevity of people’s lives.
— Linda A. Smith, RRT, FAARC
I am thankful for being an RT because it’s rewarding to save a life.
— Lynda Harkins, PhD, RRT, Waco, TX
I am thankful to be an RT because everyone needs to breathe!
— Beth Koch, BHS, RRT, RPFT, Cincinnati, OH
I am thankful to be an RT because I get to make an impact on someone’s life. I truly love my job.
— Amber McVeigh, BSRC, RRT-NPS, AE-C, Wilmington, NC
I am thankful to be an RRT because it has provided me with many different, challenging, exciting, and fun career opportunities. I love the field of respiratory therapy and enjoy every day of work as both a professor and a therapist.
— Amy Ceconi, PhD, RRT-NPS, RPFT, Pomona, NY
I am thankful to be an RT because it has provided me with a meaningful career in which I have been able to help struggling patients and their families through life-threatening challenges. As an educator it has allowed me to work with students who choose to have a career that can help change their lives, hopefully for the better.
— Jamie (Sahli) Bear, BS, RRT, AE-C, Denver, CO
I am thankful to be an RT because we make a difference in peoples’ lives every day! —Jon C. Inkrott, RRT-ACCS, Orlando, FL
I am blessed to be able to say I truly LOVE my job. I have transitioned through several of the career paths that the profession has to offer. So, as I began to lose the love in one path, there was always another opportunity available for me to pursue. “Freedom is doing what you love. Happiness is loving what you do.”
— Wendy J. Dunlop, MEd, RRT, Reading, PA
I am thankful to be an RT because this profession has provided me and my family with a wonderful livelihood. We are a much respected profession by everyone from other health care providers to the patients themselves. I would not have chosen a different profession even now, 33 years later.
— Cindy Goff, BS, RRT, Cullman, AL
I am thankful to be an RT because there are very few disciplines that offer such diversity of care where practitioners are afforded so many areas of specialization. This gives the individual the opportunity to participate in many work life experiences, spanning newborn care to geriatrics. There are endless opportunities to heal the sick and mend the broken-hearted, along with the opportunity for research and performance improvement. It doesn’t get any better than that.
— John Rinck, MBA, RRT-NPS, CPFT, Traverse City, MI
I am thankful to be an RT because it has allowed me to watch God use me in His greater plan. It has allowed me to learn to be more patient and caring towards others who are sick or hurting.
— Tina Dean-Everett, RRT, Scottsboro, AL
I am thankful to be an RT because I get to care for individuals who are critically ill.
— Ramesh Unnikrishnan, MSc, RT, Manipal, Karnataka, India
I am thankful to be an RT because loving what I do changes this from a job to a profession.
— Donna Tanner, BSRC, RRT-ACCS, Cleveland, OH
I am thankful to be an RT because I make a difference in someone’s life every day that I work.
— Kerry McNiven, MS, RRT, Manchester, CT
I am thankful to be an RT because it has allowed me to make a difference in so many lives.
— Patricia G. Hyland, MEd, RRT, Clifton Park, NY
I am thankful to be an RT because it is energizing and always productive.
— Lori VanBeusekom, MA, RRT, Saint Paul, MN
I am thankful to be an RT because for 35 years I have had a reason to get out of bed every day, join a community of health care colleagues who provide love and support to individuals, some on a path of healing and others on a journey of grieving; motivating me to always be thankful and to keep a positive perspective on my personal life.
— James E. Shuke, MBA, RRT, Charlottesville, VA
I am thankful to be an RT because it has given me the opportunity to find my passion and to grow as an individual who can make an impact on the patient’s quality of life by sharing my compassion, knowledge, and expertise. I love being a respiratory therapist!
— Karen S. Schell, DHSc, RRT-NPS, RRT-SDS, RPFT, RPSGT, AE-C, CTTS, Kansas City, KS
I am thankful to be an RT because my career has been very portable over these 30 years of practice. My husband’s career has taken us to five different states, four major metropolitan areas, six large academic centers, and north of the border. I have always been able to find a stimulating and challenging environment in which to practice, and I have been mentored by a large variety of esteemed health care professionals along the way! Truly, respiratory therapy has provided me the rewarding and lifelong profession I had hoped for!
— Debra Medin, MEd, RRT, RPSGT, Milwaukee, WI
I am thankful to be an RT because it has given me the opportunity to be part of a unique profession. The respiratory field is so diverse, we are able to work with all patient types, critical care, acute care, long-term, home, diagnostic and all in the same shift! I don’t know of any area except maybe emergency medicine that offers such a variety of challenges and patients during the same shift. The respiratory field is innovative and I am proud to be an essential member of the health care team.
— Amy Owens, BS, RRT-NPS, Opelika, AL
I am ever-so grateful to be an RT for the honor and privilege of being a member within a team of dedicated, caring “specialized” professionals. Being an integral associate in our NICU at Akron Children’s Hospital has not only met but has exceeded my hopes and expectations. And I don’t mean “monetary compensation,” but simply and sincerely being there for the babies, the children, and the parents.
— Terry J. Wasek, BS, RRT-NPS, Akron, OH
I am thankful to be an RT because I have met amazing people (both patients and colleagues) facing seemingly insurmountable challenges who have taught me perseverance and strength. Through those lessons, I have been able to help others in direct patient care, education, and advocacy.
— Shawna Strickland, PhD, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, AE-C, FAARC, Irving, TX