By Elle Koris
There are many reasons why healthcare professionals decide to answer the call to care, and for respiratory therapist Misty Nino, it was a sign from her grandmother, Betty. Thanks to that sign, Misty has been able to embark upon an amazing career, providing outstanding care to her patients and saving lives.
A Sign from a Loved One
Born and raised in Georgia, Misty’s career actually didn’t begin in healthcare. She was attending college for criminal justice and forensics when she and her family moved in with her grandmother, Betty, who passed away shortly after due to respiratory complications.
Later, when speaking with a friend, Misty learned about respiratory school and decided this was a sign from her grandmother to pursue a career in care.
“I thought it was her telling me that’s what I need to do,” she said. “I thought it was a calling from my grandmother.”
Upon graduating, Misty began a career as a respiratory therapist, which she has now done for a decade. She’s been an RRT at her local hospital, RRT for a home health company, and a traveler working the frontlines with COVID-19 patients.
But what inspires Misty to wake up every day and put on her scrubs? It’s people knowing that someone cares about them.
“I love taking care of people and making them smile and making them feel like they’re cared for,” she said.
Just a Phone Call Away
Misty has made deep connections with her patients and their families, and they know they can count on her to be there with just a single phone call. That became evident with one patient in particular who holds a special place in Misty’s heart.
While working her home health job, a daughter of a patient called Misty’s personal number early one morning saying her mom was having trouble breathing. Without hesitation, Misty, who was in the shower at the time preparing for work, threw on her scrubs and raced to her patient’s house, roughly 25-30 minutes away, to help.
She actually arrived before the ambulance and immediately began working with her patient to assist with her breathing and stabilize her until the EMTs came to the house and took her to the hospital.
“My patient was on side of the bed tripoding in respiratory distress,” Misty said. “Simultaneously working, I placed the pulse oximeter on her finger and immediately placed her on her trilogy and changed the mode from AVAPS to bipap S\T. She was already on oxygen, so her SATS were good, but her heart rate was elevated along with her respirations. Once I got her on NIV, I placed a nebulizer in line. By the time the ambulance arrived, I had already placed a second nebulizer in line. The EMTs got her situated on the stretcher while I made sure her NIV was situated. I walked with her while they rolled her out to the ambulance. She held my hand, and I kept telling her she was going to be ok.”
Later that week, Misty was assigned to the step down unit and saw a familiar face.
“When I walked into her room and she saw me, she had the biggest smile on her face that lit up the room,” Misty said. “She and I started talking, and she said that I saved her life. She hugged me so tight and just kept thanking me.”
Moments like these are why Misty loves being a respiratory therapist and loves being that person who helps others continue to smile.
From One Traveler to Another
While Misty has been a respiratory therapist since 2012, she made the decision in 2019 to become a traveler and has taken on several assignments throughout Georgia, staying close to home to spend time with her husband and kids. Her only regret, though? Not being a traveler sooner! So, she has a few words of wisdom for others.
“Whomever is thinking about it just needs to get their feet wet and get in it, and do it,” she said. “Once you start, you aren’t going to want go back to a regular 7 to 7 with all the new exposure of working at different facilities.”
Becoming a travel respiratory therapist has created so many opportunities for Misty to see and experience new procedures and modalities, helping her be the best therapist for those she cares for. Not only is she changing lives, but she’s saving them as well, proving her grandmother really did know best.
Elle Koris is a content specialist for Medical Solutions.