Student Perspective | Emily Budd

 Published: May 19, 2021

By: Emily Budd



RT student Emily Budd is in her fourth semester at Pima Medical Institute. We spoke with Emily to get her viewpoint on why she decided to become a respiratory therapist and how her RT education experience has been thus far. Read what Emily had to say about her journey to becoming an RT.

Emily’s Respiratory Health

Growing up with severe asthma had an incredibly strong impact on me. As you can probably imagine, I spent a fair amount of time in the ICU as a child. Whether it was an exacerbation or a viral pneumonia, I required a lot of attention and care in order to maintain my respiratory health. I knew from a young age that I wanted to help people, just like the nurses and RTs who helped me. This desire to heal and nurture manifested itself in many different ways throughout my life, but I eventually discovered respiratory therapy. I am blessed to have found a career where I can share a deep understanding with my patients of what it’s like to struggle to perform life’s most basic task – breathing.

School & The Pandemic

Being an RT student amidst the COVID-19 pandemic has been a truly unique experience. I had the opportunity to work with COVID patients firsthand during my clinicals. While this was emotionally heavy on a level I can’t begin to describe, I feel that I’ve gained a deeper understanding of what it really takes to be an RT. My parents are both high risk, so watching patients and family members say their goodbyes through a computer screen really resonated with me. This experience taught me to always be the RT you’d want at your loved one’s bedside.


Trauma & The RT

Going into my ICU rotation I was absolutely terrified. I was fortunate enough to study at Denver Health, a level I trauma center, and one of the best in the world. I didn’t think I would be able to handle the trauma patients, but— I ended up loving them. The fast-paced environment and the seamless and cohesive work between disciplines are so exciting to me. I aspire to have the level of knowledge and critical thinking skills required to excel in these scenarios. I ended up learning so much about both critical care and myself. I discovered that I am capable of so much more than I ever thought possible. Which brings me to some advice I may be able to offer an aspiring RT.

Advice For The Future RT

My biggest takeaway from RT school has been this: if something scares you – jump right into it! I never would have placed myself at Denver Health. If it weren’t for my instructors who believed in me, I might never have had these incredibly valuable experiences. The best way to grow as a human being is to challenge yourself. Respiratory therapy school has challenged me in so many ways and I’m grateful for every second of it. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it is a rewarding, promising career.

Emily is expected to graduate in July of 2021 and plans to pursue a job in Denver.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Emily is in her fourth semester of RT school at Pima Medical Institute. She loves to swim, be outdoors, and sing. Emily grew up in the Denver area and plans to pursue a job in the city when she graduates in July of 2021.

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