Allied Travel October 25, 2021

By Cassandra Damascus

Meet Whitney S., RT, Clinical Manager

This week, October 24th-30th, 2021, we are interviewing one of our clinical managers, Whitney S., as part of our Respiratory Therapist Week celebration. This is a week to appreciate the work that respiratory therapists do every day and to learn how they have been crucial in the fight against COVID-19.

Starting a Career in Respiratory Therapy

A Respiratory Therapist since 2006, Whitney has worked as a traveler, spending most of her career in the children’s setting as a neo-natal pediatric specialist in Respiratory Therapy. Prior to joining AMN Healthcare, she was a clinical coordinator for a pediatric and neonatal transport team.

Whitney went into respiratory therapy not only because she wanted to go to college near her grandmother, but having asthma herself, Whitney can sympathize with the patients she is caring for. Further, Whitney wanted to make a community impact. She shares, “Additionally, growing up in a community that has suffered tremendously from asbestosis from a vermiculite mine, I appreciated that it offered me a career path that would help me care for communities such as my own.”

Making the Leap

Whitney made the switch from clinical coordinator to clinical manager at AMN Healthcare in April of 2021. She adjusted her respiratory therapy journey after spending a year and a half on the front lines of the pandemic. It was not only challenging but there was a layer of job disruption and uncertainty. She goes on, “In early 2020, I felt driven to learn more about the operational side of healthcare and the business decisions that were made to support the health of communities and structure of a healthcare organization. I entered my MBA program and chose a leadership path for my employment.”

Learn how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected respiratory therapy.

The Impact

Whitney’s favorite part of respiratory therapy was when she was working with children. She explains, “The reward of seeing a child go home with their parent(s), after working so hard to save them, is amazing! Sometimes the outcomes aren’t great, and you carry that loss forever.”

One of her most memorable patients was a child who spent four years in her CICU. “This little guy never gave up on life and he became “ours” because he was with us for so long. It was hard to watch him grow up in an ICU, but we found ways to make the time fun for all of us.”

A child she called her “Jam-Jam” is another patient who holds a special place in her heart. Jam-Jam was a fighter who, as a toddler, could sit and watch an entire football game-loving every minute of it. Since he had long respiratory therapy treatments, she and other healthcare workers would sit and watch the games with him, preferably UW Huskies and the Seahawks. She said, “our RT team would fight over who got to take care of Jam-Jam every day because he brought such joy to our hearts.”

About Clinical Management at AMN Healthcare

As a natural-born leader, she seamlessly fits into the clinical management role. She describes her job at AMN Healthcare: “My job as a Clinical Manager with AMN Healthcare isn’t just about what we do, it’s about who we impact each day we come to work. I get to work directly with healthcare professionals and clients to positively impact patient experiences and outcomes. My role impacts the experience of the professional. Being a leader within this organization is about leaning into our values, striving to do good things, the right things, for all that are involved.

She continues, “We have a culture of teamwork at AMN Healthcare that has been cultivated by our leaders. We seek to cultivate change in the healthcare workforce. We get to advocate, support, and advise when times are rough, and we coach and counsel when we see opportunities for growth or improvement. Through our collaborative approach, we help our clients and healthcare professionals achieve their goals and desired outcomes.”

Words of Wisdom

We asked Whitney if she has any advice for current respiratory therapists or anyone curious about working in respiratory therapy. She strongly stated, “ALWAYS DO THE RIGHT THING! Ask tough questions and never stop learning. Be an advocate and a voice for those who need your support.  One thing I had to learn the hard way is that, as healthcare workers, we need to learn how to care for ourselves first. Taking care of ourselves ensures that we can be there to care for others. Sometimes doing the right thing is stepping back, taking a break, and allowing yourself time to breathe. As RT’s, we give the breath of life, and I want to encourage everyone to slow down and take the time you give yourself that breath as well.

Learn strategies for self-care.

About Whitney S.

Whitney is from Libby, a small town in Montana, and currently resides in Seattle, Washington. She earned her AAS-Respiratory Care from Montana State, her BS- Respiratory Care from Boise State, and in two months she will earn her MBA-Healthcare Administration from Boise State. She is married and the mother of an adorable three and half-year-old boy, who brings her an overwhelming joy for life.

We want to thank Whitney for taking the time to share her story and extend a big thank you to all the respiratory therapists across the nation.

Interested in pursuing a career as a traveling respiratory therapist? Learn more about RT opportunities at Med Travelers.

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