A respiratory therapy career comes full circle

For Denjo, starting his Respiratory Therapy career at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has given him the opportunity to hit the ground running to serve our most critical patients, but working at Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin has brought his career journey full circle, a journey that began in the Philippines.

A reluctant move

Denjo was nine years old, living in the Philippines with his family, when his parents announced their intent to move to the United States. Denjo’s mother had worked tirelessly to complete all her requirements for nursing and was recruited to Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin in October 2004.

“My mother called for a family meeting at the dinner table one evening to tell us about America,“ recalls Denjo. “She was telling us about how our lives will be better and will have more opportunities. My brother and I weren’t thrilled about it, because we have all our family and friends in the Philippines… I tried to dissuade my mother from leaving…”

A few months later, Denjo, his younger brother and his father, followed.

“It was a hard transition for me, but with time I came to love America. The quality of life here was better and the opportunities were endless! I was born with asthma which was hard to maintain in the Philippines due to lack of resources and the amount of pollution,” remembers Denjo.

Following in his mother’s footsteps

“I was lost in life in my early twenties until my mother pointed me towards the path of Respiratory Therapy.”
Denjo’s own experience with asthma sparked his interest in Respiratory Therapy, and after a push from his mother he decided to take this path in life. He completed his respiratory program in May of 2021 at Temple College and was immediately recruited by Ascension Seton Medical Center Austin, where his mom started her nursing journey in the States..

“As a little kid I saw the outside of ASMCA frequently when I came along to take my mom to work. I thought the hospital looked so cool! I never thought I would get the chance to work here,” says Denjo. “ I would like to thank Ascension Seton for hiring me as a Respiratory Therapist!”

A critical role during the pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for Respiratory Therapists grew to critical levels. Respiratory Therapists have an active role in helping patients with COVID-19, as many of those patients experience shortness of breath and low oxygen levels. Respiratory therapists help to manage the devices that can deliver high levels of oxygen therapy.

The stress and strain of COVID-19 for so many months can take a personal toll on frontline healthcare workers. The role of a Respiratory Therapist was already considered demanding before the pandemic, but despite the stress and strain, Denjo keeps a positive mindset. The support and patience from his fellow associates has helped his first career experience as a Respiratory Therapist a positive one.

We appreciate the hard work and dedication of Denjo and all Respiratory Therapists during COVID-19 and beyond.