Beverly Natale, MAS, RRT
Manager of Morristown Medical Center (MMC) Respiratory Care Department, Atlantic Health Pulmonary Center of Excellence and Sleep Centers and MMC Pain Center, Digestive Health Center and Minor Procedures
Number of Years as an AARC member: Periodically since 1984 – annually 2007
What made you pursue a career in Respiratory Therapy?
I decided to pursue a healthcare career in the hospital setting when I was in high school. After researching various healthcare fields, I chose respiratory therapy. I was drawn to being part of a team that saved lives and helped people. The chance to be present at the first breath of a premature baby to the last breath of a dying person, and their journey in between, was something that inspired me to pursue respiratory therapy as a career.
What was your proudest moment on the job as a Respiratory Therapist?
This is a difficult question as there are so many proud moments. As a respiratory therapist, it was always very gratifying for me to help patients breathe easier and to hold the hand of a patient/family member in difficult times. I was very proud when the MMC respiratory department won the Advance National Respiratory Achievement Award for Best Department. This award nationally confirmed the clinical excellence and professionalism of the respiratory therapists at MMC and also recognized the respiratory advancements accomplished in New Jersey.
Outside of your daily role, can you discuss any ways that you are involved with the field of respiratory care?
Continued education can be financially draining. Aware of the many scholarships available for nursing, I was determined to find a donor who would be willing to provide financial assistance to respiratory therapists to advance their level of credentialing and obtain a higher level of education. In 2013, with the support of two generous and grateful donors, the Brilliance in Respiratory Department (BIRD) Scholarship Award was established. To date, six respiratory therapists have been the recipients of this scholarship. Developing this scholarship was personally rewarding and I am very proud of the therapists who have received this financial support.
What are the most significant changes you have noticed in the field of respiratory care since you became a licensed practitioner? Do you think the profession is moving in a positive direction?
This is an exciting, evolving time in healthcare. Doing things the same way as we always did will not work. One significant change is the opportunity for all divisions of respiratory therapists to come together in the transitions of care of our COPD patients from acute to subacute / skilled nursing facility to the home setting. Visions need to be created by those in positions of leadership. Optimizing our value as respiratory therapists, establishing a shared governance model in practice settings to drive clinical decision making, education and quality, and having committed physician medical directors are critical to the future of our profession. As stated by one of the MMC lead respiratory care therapists, “Passion to deliver excellent care, willingness to adapt and courage to lead is the path to a brilliant future.” Without a doubt, our profession is moving in a positive direction. It is incumbent upon each and every respiratory therapist to continue this momentum.
Do you have any words of advice for current or future students interested in the becoming a Respiratory Therapist?
I strongly advise students to get their baccalaureate degree and continue to seek additional professional development. Do not be content to sit back on previous accomplishments. Seek to develop yourself intellectually and professionally on an ongoing basis, and do so with an energetic spirit.
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