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Faculty Profile: Tim Kelly

Winter 2008 | Archives

Respiratory Therapy Instructor

Tim Kelly

Vital Stats

Who: Tim Kelly

Academic Program: Respiratory Therapy

Classes taught: Hemodynamics and Current Concepts in the Management of Respiratory Diseases

Hobbies: Woodworking, hunting and spending time with family

Becoming a healthcare professional didn´t come as a surprise to MCC´s Respiratory Therapy instructor and director of clinical education Tim Kelly.

"I knew from an early age that I wanted a career in healthcare. I knew that I wanted to do something to help people who were sick," he said. Unaware of all the different avenues in healthcare, he shadowed a pharmacist, physical therapist and an X-ray technician while in high school, but none fit just right.

"My older brother was going to respiratory therapy school and invited me to tag along with him on a clinical day," Kelly said. "I loved the feeling of independence and the excitement that the job offered. Even as an uninformed onlooker, I could sense the responsibility and the deep involvement in the care of patients."

After obtaining his associate degree, Kelly enrolled in the first Respiratory Therapy Program offered by MCC and worked at Creighton University Medical Center for a number of years. When the position opened up to teach at MCC, he jumped at the opportunity. He taught full-time for 11 years before becoming the director of clinical education.

"The best part of teaching in a program such as ours is taking current students to the various clinical sites in the area and working with former students who have become successful in a wide variety of positions available to them upon graduation," Kelly said. And that also rights what Kelly sees as the most common misconception about respiratory therapy: that it´s a narrow field.

A respiratory therapist works primarily with those with cardiopulmonary diseases such as asthma, sleep apnea, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease and Cystic Fibrosis. A respiratory therapist administers medications, provides various therapies and works with the very critically ill patients requiring mechanical ventilation and can work with a range of patients from very premature infants with immature lungs to 90-year-olds with emphysema. Respiratory therapists can provide acute care in a hospital, long-term care in a rehabilitation facility, perform pulmonary function testing, exercise patients in a structured pulmonary clinic, perform sleep testing on patients with sleep apnea or even work for a home care company and see patients in the home. The path Kelly chose was education, training students for this vital healthcare area.

"He is dedicated to student learning, not only for the present time, but for life," said Dr. Stacey Ocander, dean of Health and Public Services. "He models healthy behavior, compassion, dedication and holds himself to the same personal and professional ethics that he expects from his students."

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