Health Program is as Natural as Breathing for Amesbury Woman
After 15 years working in retail, most recently as a store manager, Amesbury resident Jennifer Osgood was ready for a change.
While Osgood knew she wanted a career that was more purposeful, the now 34-year-old, wasn’t sure what she wanted. A conversation with her best friend, who is an ICU nurse, and after shadowing at a local hospital, she found what she was looking for in the respiratory therapy department.
She is completing the second year of the two-year program and already has nearly a year of experience.
“After shadowing a respiratory therapist and attending the information session at NECC, I fell in love with it,” Osgood said. “The patient interaction made me fall in love…I had an aha moment. This is nothing I ever thought I would do. If you had told me years ago I would be studying to be a respiratory therapist in my 30s, I would have said you were crazy.”
Just weeks away from graduation, Osgood is working under her student license at Lowell General Hospital, where she clocks in about 20 hours a week.
“There is nothing like the hands-on experience and the help I receive from the registered therapists,” she said.
While the registered therapists are busy operating the ventilators, Osgood said, that in addition to observing, she and the other student therapists assist with other tasks like cleaning equipment and administering nebulizer treatments to patients.
She said healthcare facilities are seeing and treating COVID-19 at all different “levels of disease”.
The pandemic does not have Osgood rethinking her career choice. If anything, she said, it furthers her commitment to respiratory care.
“This is a totally new ballgame for everyone,” she said. “It makes me anxious to get into it so I can really help out.”