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11/9/22 employee experience

spotlight on respiratory therapist, Lacie Shepherd

In honor of national respiratory therapy week, we sat down with Lacie Shepherd to learn more about her job. She joins Dayton Children's 65-member respiratory therapy team!

what is your role?
I am one of the day shift supervisors. I started at Dayton Children's as a student 18 years ago (2004). I have never worked anywhere else as a respiratory therapist.  

why respiratory therapy?
When I was in school, I wasn’t quite sure where my career would take me. I really liked many areas of Kettering Hospital.  I thought about going back for nursing so I could work for Care Flight. We didn’t have any pediatric rotations our first semester of school. The very first time I came to Dayton Children's for clinicals, I loved it and knew that is where I wanted to work.

why Dayton Children's?
Working with kids seemed rewarding and even fun at times. I liked that I would be able to work in different areas of the hospital and could do different things. Another big draw to being a respiratory therapist at Dayton Children's was being able to be on the transport team! I started as a student and have been there ever since. I have worked in general pediatrics, the PICU, emergency department, pediatric transport, NICU and neonatal transport over the years and now I am a supervisor. 

what do you love about your role?
I love the variety of not doing the same thing every single day! It isn’t always easy working with kids, but for the most part it has been enjoyable and rewarding. Over the past 18 years things have changed a lot. For example, we now cover more areas including our south emergency department and Shriner's burn unit.  

Even though we are dealing with sick and sometimes dying patients we try to do things to make their stay fun. I enjoy being able to bring a smile or laugh to these kids and their families during difficult times. Seeing the families being thankful and knowing that I have done everything I can to help someone breathe easier keeps me motivated. I work with a great team of respiratory therapists and knowing that we are in it together is helpful during difficult times. 

what do people not know about your role?
Most non-medical people don’t know there is a difference and call us nurses all the time. Many people within the hospital think RT’s suction trachs and give breathing treatments, which are both true, but there is a lot more to the job!

There are so many things we do. We get calls from all over the hospital to come assess patients, set up equipment, troubleshoot equipment, help transport patients on respiratory support to other units like surgery or medical imaging. We also respond to pivotal response treatments (PRTs) and codes, manage ventilators, suction, provide breathing treatments and go to other hospitals with the transport team.

We also provide 24/7 coverage to Shriner's and our south ED, and provide coverage to medical imaging, pulmonary lab and sleep lab.  Physicians and residents will come to us for advice when coming up with a treatment plan for patients or helping with procedures.

Lastly, we do outreach throughout the community and in schools.

Special thanks to Lacie for sharing why her job and role is so amazing!

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