Izzie Cheung, respiratory therapist at VGH. Photo taken by IG account @mr.scriptkeeper
VCH recently caught up with Izzie – a new grad Respiratory Therapist (RT) from Thompson River University who just finished her 2nd week at Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). “As a new grad, I felt slightly nervous starting out my career in the middle of a pandemic but I feel confident I will be able to learn quickly and adapt due to the highly supportive and knowledgeable RT staff at Vancouver Coastal Health!", she says.
The dynamic role of a Respiratory Therapist
During her clinical year which takes place at the last year of the program, Izzie had her level 2 rotation at VGH in the intensive care unit (ICU). She enjoys problem solving and being able to think through each scenario and applying theory to clinical practice. Having had her practicum at VGH made her transition into the role a lot smoother.
Respiratory Therapists are an integral part of the multidisciplinary health care team and have the opportunity to work at different sites within the hospital including the emergency room (ER), ICU, wards, spine units, high acuity to name a few. “The experiences we have every day are different and always exciting," says Izzie. Being a newer team member and working during a pandemic certainly has its challenges but Izzie feels fully supported by her team. “Everyone checks on me and asks if they can offer any help."
A creative outlet to show appreciation
As a passionate artist, Izzie recently channeled her creative side to paint a beautiful mural in Gastown honouring all respiratory therapists. “I wanted to promote the profession and showcase RTs in a way that made people passing by think about the other health care professionals involved in this pandemic. RTs do amazing things and I just wanted to recognize them in my own way. I think my goal was to create something that would make RTs be seen less so as “ventilator operators" (as some news outlets have described), but as something so much more."