Traveling Respiratory Therapist Meets Challenges Head On
After a stint in the Air Force followed by 25 years of working in respiratory therapy, Quintin Edwards, RRT, decided it was finally time to try life as a traveling respiratory therapist.
He considered several allied health staffing agencies and ultimately connected with Club Staffing. He told recruiter Alex Gentile that, ideally, he’d like to try some travel assignments close to his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida. He wanted to be able to stay close to his wife, as well as his children and grandchildren.
In February 2020, Quintin started his first travel job as a respiratory therapist at AdventHealth Waterman, just over 30 miles north of Orlando. He felt really good about the situation. He knew he had the competence and skills to make a meaningful contribution to the team, and he was ready.
“I had all the confidence in the world,” he remembers.
Then March arrived—and with it, the novel coronavirus. The global COVID-19 pandemic had found its way to Florida. Soon, patients with respiratory issues due to COVID-19 began arriving at his hospital. Then more patients and still more patients arrived--and stayed.
But Quintin, who calls upon his deep faith in God, says he was not afraid.
“I believe in this calling that I have,” he says.
Ever the professional, Quintin calmly donned his personal protective equipment (PPE), including a double set of gloves, and walked into each patient’s room, determined to do his absolute best to give them the care they needed.
In non-pandemic times, a respiratory therapist might spend time with a wide variety of patients during a shift. But COVID-19 makes that risky. The supervisors at Quintin’s facility decided to adjust staffing assignments so staff wouldn’t have to treat a COVID patient, then move on to a patient with cancer or another health issue, then come back to a COVID patient.
As a result, Quintin spent many long hours on the COVID-19 unit. Hours would pass before he could remove his N95 mask for a few minutes. Then he’d put it back on and keep working.
While some of his patients needed less-intensive interventions to help them, others were on life support.
“Unfortunately, some of them weren’t making it,” he said. “We were trying anything and everything to give us the edge to keep these people alive until this virus gives up.”
Quintin knew he was making a difference, though. He even agreed to extend his original assignment so he could stay longer. His faith kept him moving forward every day. He also appreciated the chance to work close to home so he could see his wife regularly, and accompany her to some medical appointments for her knee issues.
This RRT’s advice for potential travelers
Quintin recently finished his travel assignment and took a little time off to spend with his wife and relax. But he’s looking for more opportunities, because he sees the advantages for traveling respiratory therapists. Benefits like paid travel, free housing, excellent compensation and liability insurance are just the beginning.
Would he recommend RT travel opportunities to others right now? “Absolutely,” says Quintin.
“My advice is to go for it, because I went for it,” he says.
Respiratory therapists, with their training and expertise, have so much to offer to patients across the country. Right now, as the pandemic continues, their services are more important than ever.
“Because of COVID, they need us even more than ever before,” says Quintin.
“There is a need for us here,” he continues. “This is a great time for respiratory therapists, and they need to take advantage of that.”
- ‘Where I’m Supposed to Be Right Now.’ RT Traveler Switches Gears During Coronavirus Crisis
- All About Respiratory Therapists: What They Do and Salary Information
- Allied Healthcare Travel: FAQs
CLUB STAFFING has travel jobs for respiratory therapists and other allied health professionals in locations across the U.S.