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Healthcare Heroes | Nichole Leitzke
February 16, 2021
What is your official Title?
Respiratory Therapist (RT) or Respiratory Care Practitioner. We work with a variety of patients throughout different departments of the hospital. We get called to all medical emergencies and help to manage patient's airways and their use of ventilators and nebulizers. We have been especially busy helping patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How long have you been at Watertown Regional Medical Center? Have you always been in the same position?
I have worked at Watertown Regional Medical Center for nearly 5 years and have always been an RT while working here. However, I started out in healthcare as a CNA at previous facility.
What do you enjoy most about working at Watertown Regional Medical Center?
I enjoy my co-workers. I also enjoy working in a community hospital because we get to move around to different deaprtments and no two days are the same. In large hospital systems, you don’t always get that flexibility.
What was your inspiration for getting into healthcare?
After being a CNA, I knew I wanted to continue to work in healthcare but wanted an opportunity that allowed me to work with different kinds of patients. Being an RT you get to work in different areas and move around. You get to work with different age groups and patient types.
What would you say to somebody wanting to get into your profession?
If you're thinking about becoming a Respiratory Therapist, you can’t be squeamish. For schooling, you'll need to complete a 2-year technical degree or complete a 4-year degree and get your Bachelors. I received my 2-year degree from Moraine Park Technical College. Once your schooling is complete, you have to complete your boards to become certified and to become registered you have to pass another test. If this is what you choose to do, be ready for a wealth of information! :)
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not at work?
I enjoy hanging out with my family, I have a husband and two little girls. During the summer we enjoy taking our kids to local parks and I love to watch football in the fall and winter.
What is your favorite place in the Watertown area?
I love pizza so we order a lot from PJ’s Pizza and Marco’s.
What does working for a ‘Top 100 Rural and Community Hospital’ mean to you?
It’s nice to know that people don’t have to travel far away to get quality care. It makes you proud that you can help people of all ages and they can get the care you need. It’s also great that we are supporting the community by offering such a wide-variety of services and high-quality of care.
Why do you believe patients can Count on Watertown Regional Medical Center for quality care?
I work with a lot of different physicians in different departments. I have complete trust in them to take care of my family because of the work I see them do with our patients. Being from Ixonia, there are a lot of options for healthcare in the area but I recommend Watertown Regional Medical Center.
What is one thing you’re doing to help prevent the spread of COVID-19?
My family and I makes sure to wear masks, wash our hands and limit the amount of people we are seeing and interacting with. I also making sure to educate people and remind them that even if COVID-19 might not have a serious effect on you, it’s about other people and those who may be immunocompromised.
As a Respirtaory Therapist, we see the worst of the worst that come in battling COVID-19. These patients are on a lot of oxygen and we are in charge of working to get them back home to their loved ones. When we say to stay home, we mean it.