It took Caleb Watson a little while to discover his passion and career in respiratory therapy, but when he did, he knew it was for him.

While in college at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), Caleb explored several fields of study, including pre-med and nursing, before choosing respiratory therapy. “I was talking to a friend who was in respiratory therapy and it sounded really appealing to me,” Caleb said. “I then began researching it and learning more about it, and decided to go into it. I never looked back.”

Caleb soon realized where he wanted to practice after going through a few clinicals while at UAB – Children’s of Alabama. “Children’s was by far my favorite clinical site,” he said. “Doing clinicals there, I realized how much I like working with children. That’s when I knew that I wanted to work at Children’s.”

After graduating from UAB, Caleb went to work at Children’s as a registered respiratory therapist. He works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), so his days are anything but routine. Every day brings something different from setting up oxygen or a ventilator to helping insert breathing tubes. Every day also brings what Caleb considers a valuable job perk – interacting with children. “Interacting with children is so much different than with adults, and I really enjoy working with them,” Caleb said. “I like getting the opportunity to help try to put them at ease as well, whether that’s just talking with them or watching TV or playing video games with them. There’s just something really special about taking care of children.”

Caleb said the daily interaction with his co-workers and staff he works also makes Children’s a great place to work. His colleagues include those who have worked at Children’s for decades and share their experience and knowledge, as well as new hires out of school. “Because Children’s is a teaching hospital, I get the chance to teach what we do in respiratory with new hires, and that’s definitely an added part of the job I thoroughly enjoy,” Caleb said. “All residents come through our PICU at some point in their residency, so I get to not only meet lots of new people, but also teach them about our machines and policies. I really enjoy that opportunity.”

Another aspect of Children’s Caleb appreciates is the community feeling throughout the hospital. “The atmosphere here is great as far as everyone working together, always willing to listen, and co-workers becoming your friends,” he said. “When I started at Children’s, I knew no one, and now six years later I have co-workers who have become great friends of mine. Children’s is just a great place to work.”