Tamara Phu

Graduated from SFU in 2021

Major: Biomedical Physiology

Degrees Received: BSc

Additional Credentials: Co-op

Tamara is currently a Student Respiratory Therapist at Thompson Rivers University.


Tamara graduated from SFU in 2021 with a BSc majoring in Biomedical Physiology. Upon graduation, and during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, she decided to pursue a career in respiratory therapy, as it was not only an opportunity for her to apply her interests and knowledge in cardiopulmonary physiology, but also have a meaningful role in healthcare.  Tamara is currently a student respiratory therapist at Thompson Rivers University, and will be starting her clinical year of studies at Kelowna General Hospital this summer.


1) What is your current position? What does a typical work day look like for you?   

I am currently a student respiratory therapist. A typical school day for me involves lectures in the mornings, and then labs during the afternoons. Labs involve practicing patient assessment skills, working with airway management equipment, and practicing with ventilators.

During my clinical year, a typical work day will most likely be a 12 hour shift in the hospital. Depending where I’m scheduled, it could involve working in the general wards, ER, OR, or ICU. Daily tasks and patient care can vary depending where you’re working in the hospital.

2) How did your education in BPK influence your career?

BPK solidified my interest in cardiopulmonary anatomy and physiology, and pushed me to become a more critical thinker. My degree also allowed me to enter the fast-track stream of my diploma program, which meant directly entering into the second year of the program. My background knowledge in physiology has been useful and applicable to every course I’ve taken here.

3) Who in BPK had an impact on you and why?

All my professors and fellow BPK friends that I made over the years were super inspiring and supportive. Dr. Steve Robinovitch and the IPML members had a lasting impact on me during my second year at SFU. They not only helped me develop my research and communication skills, but also helped me build confidence as a student. Of course, I can’t forget Darleen, Marion, and the Co-op team who were always so caring and supportive throughout my Co-op journey too!

4) What is your favourite memory of your time at SFU as an undergraduate?

I loved working in the IPML (Injury Prevention and Mobility Lab) as a research assistant for my first Co-op position! Although I ultimately decided a career in research wasn’t for me, I made lasting friendships and memories, became more involved with the BPK community, and learned useful skills that I’ve carried with me since.

5) What advice would you give to today’s BPK student? 

Don’t feel pressured to finish your degree in four years! It’s okay to explore and try Co-op or apply for a USRA, even if it means spending a little longer at SFU than planned. Every new opportunity and experience will help you find what you’re passionate about and teach you more about yourself.