Amber is a graduate of SJR State’s Respiratory Care A.S. degree program.
She is working at her "dream job" at UF Shands-Jacksonville.
AMBER, WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A RESPIRATORY THERAPIST?
A few years ago, my father was diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer. I was able to learn how important respiratory therapists are - not only for cancer patients - but for anyone with a pulmonary disorder. Most people don’t value breathing until they can’t anymore.
WHY DID YOU SELECT SJR STATE?
After a little research, I learned that SJR State offered the program at the St. Augustine campus. I live in St. Augustine, so this was a huge plus for me. I also found that the program has one of the highest pass rates for both the TMC and CSE registry exams, both of which are known to be very difficult. It was an easy decision to pick SJR State.
HOW HAS YOUR TRAINING BEST PREPARED YOU FOR THE WORKFORCE?
Along with our amazing instructors, our classroom lab time was crucial for teaching us the fundamentals of respiratory. Once clinicals began, I felt completely prepared for what I was exposed to - since everything was hands-on. There was nothing thrown at me that we didn’t review in lab. When clinicals begin is when you truly know if respiratory is for you.
WHAT DID YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT YOUR TRAINING?
I love the direct patient care and being able to talk to and educate patients. Also, I have developed a love of trauma and being in the ICU. You never know what is going to happen next! During our final semester, we started our clinical internships in the ICU, where we work the same 12-hour shift as our preceptor. We get extensive hands-on training with ventilator management and airway management cases, which build our critical thinking skills. These factors will help prepare us for when we are licensed and working.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO THOSE CONSIDERING RESPIRATORY THERAPY AS A CAREER?
I researched the respiratory field extensively before deciding to go forward. I would recommend talking to a respiratory therapist or meeting with the instructors at SJR State and asking any questions you can think of! There are a lot of things RTs specialize in that you may not realize. Everything from assisting in diagnosing sleep disorders, pulmonary function testing, asthma education, critical care, pediatrics/neonatal care, and even being a part of a flight team. Research it first, then reach out to a therapist to chat.
Respiratory is an amazing field and we are a part of some incredible things! You are there at the beginning and end of a life and everything in between. It’s a very satisfying feeling to see a patient recover who was not expected to survive. If you are considering a career in respiratory, DO IT and don’t look back!
Amber is a graduate of SJR State’s Respiratory Care A.S. degree program. She is working at her “dream job” at UF Shands-Jacksonville.
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