Meet Trisha L.

Respiratory Care Graduate

“I’m grateful for the program and I’m definitely prepared to go out in the workforce.”

Trisha Leydet was looking for a career that could:

  1. Pay the bills
  2. Serve as an inspiration to her two young children
  3. Fulfill her desire to help people when they needed it the most

“I’ve always just enjoyed helping people and been drawn things that would do that,” she said. “When I graduated from high school I worked as a CNA for about nine years. I became a phlebotomist and then I thought, now is the time to find a career, and so I came across the Respiratory Care program and here I am!”

With a global pandemic ramping up at the close of her freshman year, Trisha’s two years in the intensive allied health program that educates Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRTs) were anything but normal. As a mother of two young children, she juggled Zoom lectures, clinical rotations and the more common struggles that come with two-year-olds and four-year-olds.

“Because of COVID, their home daycare was closed at that time so it was very difficult to find a balance of school work and having my kids home with me. I had to get them into a routine of ‘Mommy’s in class now. Here’s your snack. Here’s your juice. Please watch a show while mommy does class.’”

Before the pandemic, respiratory therapists didn’t get a lot of appreciation from the general public, but since their work is so critical to the survival of COVID patients, they have since gotten more recognition. Trisha said the fact that students in her program were able to finish their clinical rotations this year - even completing an ICU rotation during second wave of COVID - made a big difference in her education.

“It was great experience because once we’re out of school these are the patients we are going to be working with if it spikes up again,” she said. “I’m very excited to be graduating. In hindsight I look back and it seems like those two years went by so quickly, but when I think of everything that I’ve learned and where I am today compared to what I knew two years ago, it’s a big change. I’m grateful for the program and I’m definitely prepared to go out in the workforce.”

Trisha already has a post-graduation job lined up at Saint Peter’s Hospital, working full time during the day shift so she can be home with her kids at night. And although her children are a bit too young to appreciate the trials and tribulations she’s been through over the past two years, maybe someday they’ll understand the challenges she went through to achieve her degree.

“It was challenging but, in the end, it makes you a stronger person, more adaptable. We made it through together!”