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Patients Find Ginn a Breath of Fresh Air

Christy Ginn, left, speaks with a PCC student working on fulfilling her clinical requirements for the Respiratory Therapy program.

WILLIAMSTON—During its 33rd Annual Symposium in September, the North Carolina Society for Respiratory Care (NCSRC) named Pitt Community College graduate Christy Ginn its 2011 Respiratory Care Practitioner of the Year.

Ginn, a 1990 graduate of PCC’s Respiratory Therapy program, has been employed as a respiratory therapist at Martin General Hospital (MGH) in Williamston throughout her career. She also provides clinical instruction for current PCC respiratory therapy students during their rotations at MGH.

The 43-year-old Ginn is the third PCC Respiratory Therapy graduate to win Practitioner of the Year honors from NSCRC. James Langley, who graduated from PCC in 1991, received the award in 2001, while 1985 graduate Amy Jones received it in 1996.

A Plymouth native, Ginn and her husband, Jimmy, still live in her hometown with their two children, Jake and Chelsea.

Recently, Ginn spoke with PCC Communications Director Rob Goldberg about her career as a respiratory therapist, her decision to enroll at Pitt to prepare for her future profession and her feelings on receiving the 2011 Practitioner of the Year Award.

Goldberg: Why did you choose a career in respiratory therapy?

Ginn: “I chose a career in respiratory therapy because my dad had some health problems when I was growing up and I was around the hospital with him, and respiratory therapy was usually involved in his care. I thought how great it would be to have a profession that made that big of a difference in someone’s life.”

Goldberg: Why did you decide to attend PCC to study respiratory therapy?

Ginn: “I was living in Greenville at the time, attending ECU and unsure of what I really wanted to do for a living. I checked out the programs PCC offered and I went over and spoke with the director of the respiratory program, Bruce Steinbach, and he encouraged me to apply and I did. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my life.”

Goldberg: Describe a typical day on the job for you …

Ginn: “There really is no ‘typical’ day on the job in respiratory therapy. You never know what to expect. Things can get very busy really quick. But we routinely do breathing treatments, therapies, oxygen rounds, EKGs, arterial blood gas samples, ventilator rounds, pulmonary function testing and patient education.”

Goldberg: In your opinion, what are the benefits of a respiratory therapy career?

Ginn: “I get to meet some of the most wonderful people by working within our community. I get to participate in their care, and I benefit when I see them improve and get them to go home and be with their families. It makes me feel like I really made a difference in someone’s life.
“I also get to work with new technologies, and I am always learning new things.”

Goldberg: What are some of the things people should seriously consider when thinking about pursuing a respiratory therapy career?

Ginn: “They have to be people-oriented and have a desire to work with the public. There is shift work [involved], and we work weekends and holidays.”

Goldberg: Last fall, the North Carolina Society for Respiratory Care named you its 2011 Respiratory Care Practitioner of the Year. What went through your mind when you found out about this honor and why do you feel you were chosen?

Ginn: “I felt very honored to receive this award. I was totally shocked and couldn’t believe I had been chosen. I’m really not sure why I was chosen; I just go to work and do the job I was trained and hired to do the best I can. I enjoy what I do and I really care about the patients and my co-workers, and I guess someone noticed.”

Goldberg: In your words, what are some of the personality traits a good respiratory therapist must have?

Ginn: “Caring, kind and considerate.”

Goldberg: If you were to speak with someone preparing for a career in respiratory therapy, what (drawing from your personal experience in the field) would you say to that person in order to help him or her become successful in the profession?

Ginn: “To become successful, you must always put your patients first. Take care of them as if they were your own family, and always stay on top of your game. Keep your mind open to new and exciting things in your profession, such as new therapies and technology.”

Goldberg: Knowing what you know now about the respiratory therapy profession, do you feel PCC prepared you well for your career in the field? Why or why not?

Ginn: “I absolutely believe I was well prepared for my career when I graduated from Pitt. The staff in the Respiratory Care program at PCC made sure of it! I started at Martin General Hospital right out of school and six weeks after I was hired, I was, at times, on my own and felt very confident that I had been trained well to handle most situations. I precept the first-year respiratory therapy students that round through Martin General Hospital. I enjoy having them and helping them learn. The staff within (PCC’s) program are doing a great job of preparing the students for their clinical rotations here at Martin. The students usually are very professional and eager to learn.”