By Julie Benn, contributor
Nancy Rose already had a career. Health care was not even on
the radar. But at 33 she made the decision to become a registered respiratory
therapist, and the rest is history.
Now at age 39, she is having the time of her life. She has
been traveling with Medical Express for more than a year and has not only seen
great places in her travels but has also picked up a husband along the way.
“We met on the internet,” Nancy described of her serendipitous meeting with
Tim, a fire fighter. Months later, on February 19, 2005, they were married near
Estes Park, Colorado. Now she is taking some time to settle down in Des Moines, Iowa,
with hubby and her 13-year-old “puppy,” Prince.
Rose has such a close bond with her Medical Express
recruiter, Karena Schellpeper, that
she invited her to the wedding. In fact, she praises Karena for helping the
relationship along. “On the first call
from me, I told her my story and [that I] wanted to get an assignment closer to
my fiancé,” recalled Rose, “and she went all out for me and has ever
since. Both Tim and I are extremely grateful for all she did for us.”
For Rose, there is no routine day. As a therapist, she could
end up in the emergency room, the ICU, or any other department that needs her
to help people breathe. “During the winter, we get a lot of people with
pneumonia,” she said. She also sees a number of patients with asthma, even those
as young as newborns.
And she sees her share of elderly. In fact, it was the care
her grandparents received while hospitalized years prior that made her want to
“be able to take care of someone else’s grandparents like that.”
With acute compassion, Rose does just that. She said that
being a therapist is a fulfilling job because she gets to be with and really
listen to her patients. “It’s pure nursing, care-giving. As a traveler, I am
able to put patients first. Many of them, and their families, are confused,
don’t know what to do, and are looking for someone to really talk to them about
what is going on. We’re not faceless doctors who come in for only a few minutes
then leave. I am happy that I can sit with them, really be with them, help them
not feel so lonely.”
What does it take to become a Registered Respiratory
Therapist? “A lot of hard work,” Rose said. She attended the PIMA Medical
Institute in Denver, Colorado, for 26 intense months. During her
second year, she worked nights and went to school during the day. Nancy chose
to take her schooling all the way beyond Certified Respiratory Therapist, to
RRT, which is the highest level of respiratory therapy. It involved taking an
extra grueling test. “School was hard, but worth it.”
Rose particularly likes to work with other travelers.
“Travelers welcome and accept you when on assignment—it’s a bond we share,” she
said. “It’s also fun to work with people who love what they do, appreciate
their careers and life callings.”
She added that she has also felt welcome from the hospital’s
staff members where she traveled. “I always felt wanted—they just really needed
help. [There was] no animosity for being a traveler.”
Dedication is another hallmark of her work, considering that
she crossed a time zone and state line to work in Colorado
while living in Kansas.
She did this for two assignments.
“I became a [therapist] and have never looked back,” said Rose.
“With traveling I get amazing experience—you know what you don’t know and get
to know it fast. My advice is to ask questions, but also be independent and
autonomous. You’ve got to hit the ground running,” she said, “just not outside
of hospital protocol and that’s something you learn is different from place to
place. Be flexible.”
© 2005. AMN Healthcare, Inc. All Rights Reserved.