Major: Respiratory Care
Naomi Humes researched College of DuPage and discovered that it provided a quality education at an affordable price.
She enrolled at COD the fall after graduating from high school, taking the required prerequisites in hopes of entering the Nursing program.
“As time went on, luckily I had not started the Nursing program yet because at that time, nursing was not for me,” she said. “But I still wanted to be in health care, and I came across the Respiratory Care program. I talked to the (then) director of the program, Denise Kruckenburg, and a few months later I got a letter saying I was accepted into the program.”
Humes earned her degree and was a registered respiratory therapist at St. Alexius Medical Center, where she helped patients with breathing problems and protected their airways.
“I worked in the ER with trauma victims and asthma patients, in the ICU with critically ill adults and in the NICU with premature babies who are no bigger than my hand,” she said. “It was very rewarding to know I had a part in saving someone’s life.
“As an emotional person, I found it hard at times to watch a patient’s family cry over their loved one. I go back to what my COD teachers said in class, ‘This is the family's time and, as a health care professional, I have to let them have their moment.’ This really helped me in my day-to-day work because it prevented me from becoming too emotional around the patients and their families.”
Having completed DePaul University’s MENP (Master’s Entry into Nursing Program), Humes is a psych nurse at Behavioral Health Hospital, working on the eating disorder unit. She soon will start nurse practitioner school.
Humes credits College of DuPage’s small class size as helping her receive the necessary attention.
“I would not have liked being in a class with 100-plus students. I needed that one-on-one attention,” she said. “Besides that, COD helped me continue to work and go to school at the same time.
“I encourage other students to do their research. There are so many different health care fields that you can enter. You should get in contact with hospitals and ask to arrange a job shadow with someone already in a field that you are considering. There are so many possibilities, such as physical therapists, dietitians, surgical technicians, radiology technicians, physician assistants and respiratory therapists. Find what interests you most and go into a profession that you are passionate about.”