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Respiratory care graduate embarks on journey into healthcare field

[SPOKANE, Wash.] Four years ago, Jessica Murphy planned to be a dental hygienist. With half of her credits completed and getting ready to transfer, the pandemic hit, and Murphy was left at a fork in the road. 

"Dental had shut down and I didn’t know when it would open back up. It wasn’t an essential thing, and I wanted to do more to help so I started looking at different programs.” 

In her search to make an impact, Murphy decided on the Bachelor of Applied Science in Respiratory Care program at Spokane Community College. 

“Most people don’t know what respiratory care is until they need it,” Murphy said. “I liked this because I already had the anatomy of the head figured out, and this wasn’t much more. It’s a specialty and I jumped into it, and we were in the middle of a respiratory pandemic.”  

Although the pandemic was widely considered over by the time she graduated, SCC's respiratory care program still seemed like a no brainer to Murphy – focus on one area, get good at that and make an impact.  

During her pediatric clinical rotation at Sacred Heart Medical Center, Murphy stood outside of a room where she watched as nurses and respiratory therapists surrounded a young boy with love during his final moments of life. 

“I got goosebumps and just started crying. It was beautiful — the love those people that did not know this little baby had at that exact moment. It was one of those moments that just felt like ‘you need to be here.’” 

Murphy still had two rotations left in different units, but she couldn’t leave behind the feeling she had that day and asked her clinical director Michelle Samuels to complete her final rotations in the pediatric unit.  

She finished her time as an SCC respiratory care student there and now works full time in Sacred Heart’s Pediatric and Neonatal Intensive Care Units. 

Erica Rodvold has been a respiratory therapist at Sacred Heart for six years and has worked with Murphy since she was in her clinicals. Rodvold attributes the post-graduate success of many SCC graduates like Murphy to the extensive number of clinical hours they receive during their bachelor's degree.  

“Jessica has always been passionate about PED’s, and she maintained that she wants to work with kids, and you have to want to put in extra effort to work in PED’s ICU,” Rodvold said. “She is motivated to learn and to use her hands on skills. She really evaluates her patients and is always asking questions.”  

Murphy has taken her education a step further and is grasping opportunities to create avenues for new students entering the respiratory care field.  

In January, SCC Respiratory Care Program Director Toni D'Amato chose Murphy to be Student Engagement Committee Co-Chair for the Respiratory Care Society of Washington.  

In her leadership role, Murphy is working on building a mentorship program to create a support network for students beginning their journey into the field. Her goal is to create a buzz around respiratory care and get people excited about the career path.  

“It has really been awesome to see the students get excited about going into their field as a respiratory therapist and I’m hoping to just keep them engaged and excited because I feel like that's what's going to make the future of respiratory great,” Murphy said. “Knowing that there's people there to support you to through it and people who have been there who are open to your ideas and your thoughts and insights is really helpful.” 

Murphy is excited to be entering the field as a mentor, a healthcare professional and compassionate leader in the respiratory care community.  

“Spend your time in clinicals wisely, find your interests and go towards that goal... It makes all the difference.” 

For details on 2024 Commencement, view the SCC Graduation Page.  

Posted On

5/20/2024 8:49:56 AM

Posted By

Kayla Friedrich



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