Soccer Scholarship Puts Jimenez on Road to Healthcare Career

Kendra Jimenez

Kendra Jimenez always knew she wanted to work in a team. During her adolescence, she played soccer and was a part of her high school sports medicine team. And she continued to play the game in college.

It was a soccer scholarship that brought Jimenez to GateWay, where she began to take introductory health classes. It wasn’t until she experienced her first code blue -- cardiac distress in medical terms -- while shadowing a respiratory therapist that she realized her true calling.

This experience exposed her to what respiratory therapists do, and also helped her see that as a respiratory therapist, she would be working with a medical team, as well as saving lives.

“Being a respiratory therapist is a rewarding job,” said Jimenez. “You have to be ready to run when someone’s life is on the line.”

The encouragement of her professors pushed her to venture outside of her comfort zone often. Every instructor made an impact on her life and Jimenez credits them for making her a better student and ultimately a better respiratory therapist.

“I learned a lot about myself, my instructors helped me appreciate art and concepts I never thought I could comprehend,” she said. “Everything I learn is working knowledge, and I am guaranteed to see everything I’m learning in a clinical setting.”

Like many students in the wake of COVID-19, Jimenez was challenged with transitioning to an online learning environment. She then found herself on the front lines, working alongside sick patients and put her skills to the test.

“When you are in the ICU with patients during a pandemic, you have to get creative and do things differently to protect the patient and everyone in the room.”

On top of keeping up with her coursework, Jimenez and members of her family contracted the virus. As the eldest child, she knew she would have to step up to the plate while her parents were ill. After battling the virus, she does believe there is a silver lining.

“I can now relate to my patients. I can bring them hope, peace and guidance. I reassure them they are not alone,” Jimenez said.

Jimenez looks forward to graduating in May 2021 as a respiratory therapist, with the goal of becoming an air transport respiratory therapist. She hopes to one day pay it forward by returning to GateWay and becoming a professor in the Respiratory Care program.

To learn more about the Respiratory Care program at GateWay, visit: https://www.gatewaycc.edu/respiratory-care.

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