Recognizing Medical Assistants and Respiratory Therapists

  • Terri Seelig, Betty Karas and Nancy McLellan are respiratory therapists in the pulmonary medicine clinic (Photo by Janine Gelineau)

October includes weeks dedicated to the recognition of two important, albeit often overlooked, health care disciplines.

This week is Respiratory Care Week. UConn Health employs 20 respiratory therapists in both inpatient and outpatient settings. Respiratory therapy is the assessment of patients with both acute and chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system.

“Today’s respiratory therapists have demanding responsibilities related to patient care and serve as vital members of the health care team,” says respiratory therapy supervisor Janet Annesi. “Respiratory therapists must have a broad knowledge of the pathophysiology of the cardiopulmonary system and the complex procedures required to properly diagnose and treat patients, from the very young to the very old.”

Respiratory therapists are trained advanced airway management and restore pulmonary function and support life by administering medically prescribed therapy.

“Outside facilities look to our department and will send patients here,” says respiratory therapist Terri Seelig of UConn Health’s pulmonary medicine clinic, which offers complex and diagnostic and treatment options not common in community outpatient offices.

Meantime, the American Association of Medical Assistants designates the third full week in October to be Medical Assistants Recognition Week.

“Our MAs are at the core of our staffing model in the delivery of care to our patients,” says Caryl Ryan, director of inpatient nursing services at UConn John Dempsey Hospital. “They are caring, loyal, possess a strong work ethic and always perform their duties within the best interests of our patients.”

UConn Health employs 199 medical assistants in both inpatient and outpatient settings.

“Our MAs are always available to lend a hand, consistently going above and beyond to promote the delivery of the highest quality of care, all the while keeping the patient as safe as possible,” says Elizabeth Brookshire, a UConn John Dempsey Hospital nurse manager.

Says UConn Health Emergency Department nurse manager Eileen Scully, “Our ED MAs provide excellent care to our patients each and every day. ¬†They are essential to the operation of our department. We appreciate their hard work and dedication.”

And from the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center, assistant nurse manager Beth Pisarsky says, “Our MAs are compassionate and empathetic to all patients across the continuum of cancer care. They provide holistic support, not only to the patients, but to the entire interdisciplinary team. They are a valued member of our health care teams and provide exceptional and safe patient care.”