Respiratory Therapy program graduate blazes impressive trail
Single mom Miranda Rashband knew it was going to be a tough balance when she enrolled in the SJVC Rancho Cordova Respiratory Therapy program. “It’s hard to keep that balance in life: Good nutrition, a healthy amount of sleep, provide a good foundation for raising kids and accomplish the goals I had for myself in my program. And, there was no social life – trust me.”
But Miranda had something to prove and an important message to deliver to her children, Elese (15) and Ethan (12).
As the first in her family to go to college, there was no way Miranda was not going to finish what she started. “I am a first-generation college graduate from a very large family,” she says. “My kids got to watch the struggle and see the dedication that is needed. I had to show my kids that you can – no matter what life may bring you – go to college.”
Miranda had spent a dozen years in her own business as a licensed massage practitioner (LMP), providing injury treatment to those requiring therapeutic massage. But she felt she had hit the ceiling of her scope of practice, and wanted something that would allow her to continue in patient care while also expanding her education and licensure.
“Specializing in Respiratory Therapy is beyond the type of care you can do and the distance you can go with it,” says Miranda. “There is no limit. You can go into patient or formal education, home care to trauma care.”
A licensed Respiratory Therapist provides treatment to those with respiratory distress or diseases, such as asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) and neuromuscular conditions.
Miranda did extensive online research for education and training facilities and found SJVC. “I looked at qualifications and standards of schools. I went around to local hospitals and asked their opinion of local education facilities,” says Miranda. “SJVC got high marks, by far.”
It was going to be a hardship, no doubt. Miranda talked with Elese and Ethan. “They were on board,” she says. She went to a part-time work schedule and made the jump.
The intensity of the Respiratory Therapy program was a bit of a shock to Miranda. “I was surprised with the difficulty level and the speed at which you’re given the information,” she says. “But when you love something, you do it and, usually, do it well.”
The support she received from her instructors made a big difference. “They push you and demand things from you that you didn’t think you were capable of giving,” she says. “They also treat you as an equal and support you; maybe give you a hug, listen to you vent, or process something that might have happened in the hospital – the death of a patient. You do a lot of growing in the program.”
“Miranda’s drive and willingness to step out of her comfort zone is landing her multiple job opportunities in the field of Respiratory Care before she has even passed her licensure,” says Margarita Rankin, Career Services Advisor. “She is going to make an excellent addition to any team.”
Miranda amassed many awards throughout her Respiratory Therapy program – including Student of the Month, Dean’s List, Lambda Beta, Alpha Beta Kappa – while also performing extensive volunteer work with the American Lung Association, Cystic Fibrosis Walk, Pre-Med Fair, hospital NICU Reunion, and she started a yoga program for patients with pulmonary and respiratory problems. She was Valedictorian at her December 2015 graduation.
She walked away with more than she anticipated. “This program took away the duality that you see with people,” says Miranda. “There is no short and tall, no rich and poor; everybody is the same in the end. As a human, patient, professional; we’re all born in the same way and we all leave in the same way. It is a profound realization that you don’t come in thinking you’re going to learn.”
Now she will put all of this awareness into practice as she considers her next learning and teaching platform.
Miranda is weighing the merits of three job offers, and which will best propel her forward. She ranks them carefully by four criteria. “How quickly you move up the ranks is important; also, the level of trauma care and how quickly they put you in a position to use your critical care skills. How involved are they in your education.”
Miranda has earned the confidence to make the right choice. “I think I’m just blazing my own trail. The world is your oyster; why not go for it!”