Journal–Job Hunting

Journal 7/8/1971

Job hunting has been trying for me. You realize how inadequate you are. There have been ups and downs. A letter from and interview at St. Vincent’s hospital the first day had my hopes up. But the job isn’t very interesting–putting a mess of parts into order so an inventory system can be set up.

(Note: I was excited when I read about this job because it mentioned a computer inventory system.  I thought I would be writing the software. Instead, the job was just to sort and organize the inventory prior to implementing a computer system. As mentioned previously, I had taught myself some computer programming at Scattergood, and used that in Don Laughlin’s lab the summer prior to my Senior year at Scattergood (1969). In the end, writing computer software became one of the main parts of my career.)

The next day I spent all morning at Methodist Hospital. There was a possible opening for a transportation aide. The opening failed to materialize. This afternoon at Methodist I found there might be a position for my working with respiratory patients and oxygen therapy. It sounds very good; good pay and an opportunity for training as a technician.

(Note: This was during a time when respiratory, or inhalation, therapy technicians were being trained on the job. That involved in-hospital classes, and practicing under the supervision of a respiratory therapist. Not too many years later, graduating from an approved school and passing either the Certification or Registry exams would be required.) 

Journal 7/10/1971

I am very happy and relieved to have the job at Methodist Hospital as a technician in respiratory therapy. There is a 4 week training program–much to learn, and the work sounds very interesting. Will start July 17th.


First day at work. Went well. Very interesting.

I’ve been working considerably on a statement on the draft.


Another exhausting day. Administered some IPPB’s (Intermittent Positive Pressure Breathing) today.

(Note: IPPB treatments were at this time the main thing respiratory therapy technicians did. An IPPB machine was brought to the patient’s room and connected to compressed oxygen from a wall outlet. Then each breath the patient triggered would open a valve to deliver the breath under pressure. This was supposed to prevent atelectasis (alveolar collapse) that was commonly seen after surgery or trauma. This turned out to be one of the many things that were done in hospitals that sounded good, but research eventually showed was not effective in most patients.  IPPB treatments are rarely done today.)


More classes at work today. So much to learn! I hate to jeopardize this job because of the draft, but this happens to all who are drafted.


Much has happened lately. Job is going very well. Good relationships with everyone. Start on my own tomorrow.

(Note: So I found both of my career paths by what seemed to be random sets of circumstances, or perhaps, instead, I was led to these career choices. When I entered Earlham College I intended to major in physics. But I found working with patients as a respiratory therapist was a nice combination of being able to help people and being involved in science.  After VSM I obtained a degree in Respiratory Therapy from Indiana University, and passed my registry exams to become a Registered Respiratory Therapist–RRT.  After a number of years working mainly in Neonatal Intensive Care Units, and 3 years teaching respiratory therapy at a state college, I spent most of my career writing software and doing research in the Infant Pulmonary Function Laboratory at Riley Hospital for Children.)

(Note: Permission had been obtained to share all photos seen here.)

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