Five Great Bits of Advice for New RT Students

 Published: August 22, 2018

By: Heather Willden


image pf medical students on staircase

Every fall hundreds of students walk into a respiratory care classroom for the first time. They all see themselves helping to care for patients who are struggling to breathe, but how they will get from their first day of class to the bedside is still a mystery to most of these students.

photo of Nickie Mabery
Nickie Mabery, RRT

Recent RT grad Nickie Mabery, RRT, was in that position herself a few short years ago and knows exactly what it will take. She shares her best advice for students getting ready to start their RT programs.

Here’s her top 5 list —

  1. Make school a priority! Your level of dedication will determine your degree of success.
  2. Study. Study every day even if only for five minutes. Remember, you’re studying to save lives, not to pass an exam.
  3. Create, and maintain, friendships with your class. Your classmates will become more like a family; you will all need each other at times.
  4. When on break, take a break. My director stressed this point from the beginning and, at first, I didn’t agree. I soon realized that this was necessary to “restart” yourself and maintain focus.
  5. Never give up! Moments of fear, doubt, and tears are practically inevitable; during these moments, push harder towards your goal!

Following these recommendations did the trick for Mabery. She graduated from the respiratory care program at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, TN, earlier this year and is now working as a respiratory therapist at Southern Tennessee Regional Health System in Pulaski, TN.

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Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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