News 3 gets inside look at training for respiratory therapy students at Tidewater Community College

Posted at 2:18 PM, Oct 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-21 20:43:12-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Right now, medical professionals around the world are trying to figure out the best way to treat COVID-19.

News 3 got an inside look at some of the training for respiratory therapy students at Tidewater Community College.

Respiratory therapists plays a vital role in the treatment of people diagnosed with COVID-19, particularly if they need to be put on a ventilator.

Following in her grandmother’s footsteps, Jen Wild is studying to be a respiratory therapist at Tidewater Community College on the Virginia Beach Campus.

“The opportunities in this field are just awesome,” said Wild.

News 3 stopped by while respiratory therapy students were learning inside the Regional Health Professions Center on Wednesday.

The Director of the Respiratory Therapy Program, Denise Bieszczad, said the foundation of the curriculum for the respiratory therapy program hasn’t changed due to COVID-19, but they are integrating new information about the disease into all their classes.

They are working to educate their students on the best practices while much of COVID-19 is still unknown.

“Everyone is sharing information on the best way to treat patients with COVID-19. It’s a very unique disease on how it affects the lungs,” said Bieszczad.

On Wednesday, Justin Seemueller, a respiratory clinical specialist from Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, spoke to the class. He is a 2010 TCC graduate and has also taken a lead role in the design of reusable protective masks for healthcare workers, according to TCC.

Devaun Perry is a respiratory therapy student who said he can’t wait to put his training to use in the field.

“COVID is a mysterious disease,” said Perry. “Many people are trying to figure out different ways to treat patients that are diagnosed with the disease.”

Perry and his fellow classmates are expected to graduate in May.

“There’s job shortages, so employers are really trying to entice them to come to those hospitals,” said Bieszczad. “We’ve actually had 100% employment … for student graduates.”

“It’s been a wonderful experience. I’m just blessed at the opportunity,” Perry said of the training he has experienced at the college.

Bieszczad said despite the dangers of COVID-19, many of the students are eager to start their careers and be put on the front lines of the pandemic.

“I did not have one student who said, 'I’m fearful. I don’t want go.' I think when they signed up, they knew what they were getting into,” said Bieszczad.

“Getting into it right now is honestly such an exciting time. It gives us, particularly in our field, such an opportunity not only to help our patients to the best of our ability, but to learn a lot as well,” said Wild.

To learn more about TCC's Respiratory Therapy Program, click here.

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