Hometown: Savannah, Georgia
Class of 2011
Major: Respiratory Therapy
Robert May, a senior majoring in Respiratory Therapy at Armstrong Atlantic State University, knows first-hand what it feels like to have difficulty breathing.
“I have asthma,” he says. “It’s something I’ve really struggled with at various points in my life.”
After years of visiting pulmonologists and respiratory therapists, he decided to enter into this fast-growing medical field, pursuing a B.S. in Respiratory Therapy at Armstrong, home to one of only a handful of bachelor’s degree respiratory programs in Georgia. “It was the perfect fit for me,” he raves. “It’s a great program.”
Since enrolling in the program at Armstrong in 2008, he has taken classes focusing upon EKG readings, pulmonary disease states, pharmacology and performing skills such as intubation and drawing arterial blood gases. “It’s a very challenging program, but it provides great healthcare knowledge,” he says. “The heart and lungs are our main focus. The program is great and it’s getting better all the time.”
At 26, Robert’s goal is to become a Stage 3 Respiratory Therapist, which will enable him to work in the emergency room, pediatric floors and in specialized ICU units. He dreams of joining a medical flight team, saving lives by flying in a customized helicopter to offer medical assistance.
In the fall of 2010, Robert enjoyed a pediatric respiratory therapy rotation at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston. He is currently completing a respiratory therapy internship at Memorial Health Medical University, where he works in the ICU helping trauma patients, patients with kidney or liver failure and patients who have undergone heart surgery. “I’ve been able to get a lot of hands-on experience,” he says, “which has been great.”
A lifeguard for 10 years, this proud senior is looking forward to working as a respiratory therapist after graduation and putting his education to work in a fast-paced medical setting. “Respiratory therapy is an up-and-coming field,” he enthuses. “It’s one of the top five fastest-growing medical fields. There are some great jobs out there. Armstrong really helps prepare you for success.”