Student Stories: Justin Bell

Justin Bell

Major: Respiratory Care

While in high school, Justin Bell knew he wanted a career helping people.

Health Science Admissions

He also realized the health care field would provide job security. Initially he explored becoming an X-ray technician and shadowed one at Kishwaukee Hospital.

“I knew it was not for me, but at the end the tech suggested that I shadow a respiratory therapist,” Bell said. “I went home, did the paperwork, and the following week I was back at Kishwaukee. After shadowing a respiratory therapist, I knew that it was something I wanted to make a career out of. I just liked the fact that you travel throughout the hospital and every time you go to work, your assignment could be different than the last time you were there.”  

He began researching schools and was impressed by the high ranking of College of DuPage’s Respiratory Care program and its proximity to where he lived.

“When I visited COD, I was amazed at the campus and all the resources that were available to the students. I couldn’t help but notice how astonishing the medical wing of the Health and Science Center was, which was most important to me because that’s where I would spend most of my time after being accepted into the Respiratory Care program.”

Once at COD, Bell discovered the many resources that would help him succeed.

The knowledge and skills that I used during my time at COD have carried over into my career.

Justin Bell

“There were so many ways to seek guidance from a tutor. In the rare case that (Program Coordinator) Barb Coe or any of the other program instructors weren’t available, I could often seek help from the Learning Commons in the Student Resource Center,” he said. “If I was unable to seek help in person, then I could ask to schedule a virtual appointment. Having these resources at my disposal helped me to excel within the program, and the knowledge and skills that I used during my time at COD have carried over into my career.”

Having earned his Associate in Applied Science, Bell works full time at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. He is studying for the Adult Critical Care Specialty exam, which will add to his respiratory credentials, and he recently was accepted into Northern Illinois University for the health care management bachelor’s degree program 

As for his future, Bell is open to many possibilities, including education.

“Barb has inspired me so much that becoming an educator is foreseeable in my future,” he said. “For me, it’s about compassion and giving back to this field. Everything that I am learning now will only help me to accomplish any goals that I have set forth.” 

As for COD, Bell realizes his opinion is biased and cannot recommend the Respiratory Care program enough.

“My time at COD was more than just an education,” he said. “There were so many emotions that I had to deal with while in the program. I enjoyed my time with my peers in my cohort. The different clinical sites were exciting, and when I went to clinicals each week, my goal was to learn how to assess patients and help them feel better. Overall, I would not trade my experience at COD for anything. I really enjoyed myself throughout the two years I spent in the Respiratory Care program, and I can promise that anyone going into the program will, too. 

“If you are undecided about going into respiratory care, reach out to Barb. Her dedication and passion for Respiratory will help sway you into the program. Having Barb as an instructor was also a key factor in my success. She was a role model to me, always making time for me and wanting me to succeed in the program. Barb is a passionate instructor and observing her care, dedication and passion for this field made me realize what type of respiratory therapist I wanted to be.”

Learn more about the Respiratory Care program at College of DuPage