By Kate Hunger
When Laura Martinez, MS, RRT, learned about the Respiratory Care master’s program at UT Health San Antonio, she saw an opportunity to return to the medical setting she had loved as a physician in Mexico.
“I missed being by the bedside,” she said.
After graduating in 2017, Martinez went to work as a respiratory therapist at North Central Baptist Hospital, and she also provides clinical support to students in the Respiratory Care program.
Martinez shared her passion for respiratory care in an interview that appeared in the September issue of The Coalition Chronicle, which is published by The Coalition for Baccalaureate and Graduate Respiratory Therapy Education (CoBGRTE).
In the interview, she was asked about the biggest rewards and challenges of being a respiratory therapist.
Her biggest reward is helping save lives.
“I have the pleasure of working primarily in the NICU, and when you get to see parents take their little one home finally, it’s a heartwarming feeling,” she said in the interview. “We get these gut-wrenching cases where the odds of survival are extremely low. But teaming with a group of nurses and physicians to save these patients, you get to play a vital role that directly affects the outcome of this new life.”
Working in a profession that is sometimes underestimated is a challenge, she said.
“Respiratory often is still viewed as an ‘ancillary’ department,” she said. “We must constantly prove our worth and demonstrate how our input with patients matters.”
Martinez’s goals include joining a NICU transport team and one day holding a faculty position. Of course, that last goal will only happen when she is ready to leave her bedside role.
“You have an important role to play,” she said of respiratory therapists. “You are providing something so simple as helping people to breathe.”