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Career Change: From Retail Management to Health Field

Submitted by on April 2, 2020 – 8:14 pm
photo of Jennifer Osgood in facemask and scrubs surrounded by respiratory care

Jennifer Osgood works as a student respiratory therapist.

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 35-year-old, wasn’t sure what she wanted. After a conversation with her best friend, who is an ICU nurse, and shadowing at a local hospital, she found what she was looking for in the respiratory therapy department.

“After shadowing a respiratory therapist and attending the information session at NECC, I fell in love with it,” Osgood said. “It was the patient interaction…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.”

A year into the two-year program, Osgood was already working 20 hours a week at Lowell General Hospital under her student license, caring for many patients with COVID-19.

Even after a stressful semester dealing with patients felled by the virus, Jennifer said she “absolutely loves” her new career.

After receiving her associate degree in May of 2020, she was hired as a full-time respiratory therapist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston.

She said health care 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.”

For additional information on the respiratory care program visit the NECC program page on our website.