Respiratory Care alum makes a difference
When Lincoln native Brandon Schwab decided he wanted a career that would be both satisfying and a great service to others, he enrolled at Southeast Community College. He decided to go into Respiratory Care and has never looked back.
“The most rewarding part is seeing good patient outcomes and knowing that you played a role as a part of a team to make that happen,” Schwab said. “I can't think of a more rewarding career than being a respiratory therapist.”
After spending two years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Schwab decided to transfer to SCC to find his place and receive more direction than a bigger school had to offer. He said it was the perfect fit, and he was more successful academically as well.
“SCC is a great fit for those students who enjoy smaller class sizes and greater access to their instructors,” he recalled. “The school can also be a launching pad to even higher levels of education.”
After graduating from the Respiratory Care program in 2002, he worked at CHI Health St. Elizabeth in Lincoln. He and his family decided to move to Orlando, Florida, in 2012. Currently, Schwab is a Level 5 Lead Respiratory Therapist working in intensive care at Orlando Regional Medical Center. Working with COVID-19 patients has been his “new normal” during the past year.
“Some days you are going non-stop for 12 hours, and others aren't so bad,” he said. “The difficult part with COVID patients is taking on and off the personal protective equipment constantly. But I work with a great team, and we do our best to take care of our patients while also keeping the environment loose and fun.”
He said the most challenging part of his job is the mental aspect. It can be overwhelming when you’re caring for patients, talking to family members, and things aren’t going well, Schwab said.
“But I always try to maintain my professionalism and do the best work that I can for my patients,” he added.
Schwab’s wife, Michelle, is a 1997 graduate of SCC’s Respiratory Care program. She is currently helping to launch a new hospital in the Orlando area, and they both look back fondly on their time at the College.
“I would advise others to seek an education at SCC because it’s a great path to a rewarding career,” Brandon said. “There is such a variety of programs to choose from, whether it’s in healthcare, business, law enforcement, agriculture, or any of the trades.”
Schwab said he and his family moved to Florida to see a different part of the country. They enjoy the theme parks, diversity and all-around good climate.