Ventilators, there has been much talk about them in the news recently, but who actually works with them and cares for the patients that need them? Meet Theresa Schwandt! Theresa is a respiratory therapist (RT) that has worked at a Lake Country area hospital for ten years. In addition to operating ventilators, Theresa is trained to perform bedside procedures including intubation, placing arterial lines and PICC (peripherally inserted central catheters) lines, assisting with bronchoscopies and administering different types of breathing treatments.
Respiratory therapists typically possess an Associate Degree from a technical college, however there are advanced degrees available. In the hospital setting, RTs work where they are needed, and can be found caring for patients in every hospital unit, primarily in critical care areas like ER and ICU and with the exception of the operating room, and often under the direction of a pulmonologist. RTs are required to maintain certifications with the American Heart Association, such as Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Basic Life Support (BLS).
Theresa lives with her husband and three kids on a hobby farm in the country. They raise cows, Dutch rabbits and chickens. We’d like to thank Theresa for chatting with us about her career and her interests in Lake Country.
Question: What is your favorite thing about being a respiratory therapist?
Answer: “I look forward to work because I enjoy the people I work with, and when I leave for the day, I realize I have been able to help people. How many people can say that?”
Q: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
A: “It’s a funny story. I knew I wanted to work with people and had planned on going to nursing school but there was a long waiting list. I didn’t want to wait, and my grandmother said to me, ‘why don’t you become an RT? I know a lady that does it, it’s a good job for raising a family and you won’t have to give an enema.’ Twenty years later, I can say grandma got it right and I am so glad I became an RT. I guess nursing wasn’t my calling.”
Q. What is your favorite restaurant in Lake Country, and what do you love there?
A. “Rosati’s monster pizza is the jackpot!”
Q. Who is the most interesting person you’ve met here in Lake Country?
A. “Kelly Campbell. She’s a very interesting and strong person, and a great patient advocate. I admire her.”
Q. What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?
A. “I particularly like movies about historical events and Titanic is my favorite.”
Q. What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A. “Take the time to enjoy every day and make it count.”
Q. What is something on your bucket list?
A. “I’ve always wanted to visit Australia and see the outback, the nature there, and the different animals like kangaroos and koalas.”
Q. What is your favorite music/three artists you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A. “I enjoy several different kinds of music including 80’s, oldies, country, and genre aside, songs that tell a story and make you feel. I’d like to see George Strait, Journey with Steve Perry on lead vocals, and Dolly Parton.”
Q. Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Lake Country would you have lunch?
A. “I’d like to have lunch with President Trump at Crafty Cow in Oconomowoc. I think it would be very interesting in light of everything that has gone on in recent years, and an opportunity that very few would have the chance to experience.”
Q. Even for friends or family, what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A. “I am passionate about daylily plants and have 134 registered varieties of daylilies. I hybridize them to create new varieties, which is a process that takes several years.”
Q. If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?
A. “Will Ferrell comes to mind right away, but it would have to be a comedy and not a rom-com because I wouldn’t want to kiss him!”
Q. If you had a full time staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose? Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny?
A. “A chef for sure, I love food! It would be great to have someone that can prepare new, tasty, healthy meals.”
The Faces of Lake Country is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured, please click the button below.