It’s been nearly 38 years since Cleveland Smith, supervisor, respiratory care, walked into Saint Joseph Hospital as a floor tech in respiratory.
That wasn’t the original path he had chosen in high school. Originally, he had an interest in radiology, but the program at Madisonville Vocational-Technical School was full. he saw the respiratory path as a way to migrate, eventually, into radiology when an opening occurred.
That was 1977. Now, Smith says he would like to encourage young people to go into the field he’s worked in for more than 40 years. As supervisor, respiratory care, Smith is part of a team that provides patient care at the bedside, working closely with nurses and physicians.
“That allows a lot of growth and opportunity to serve and help patients and their families,” Smith said.
He’s been able to grow in his vocation and credits the emphasis of his department structure and CHI Saint Joseph Health on continuing education. When Smith began with Saint Joseph Hospital in 1981, many of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth were still on-site regularly “walking the floors every day.” He appreciates the “values that they kept before the staff and those values we still operate under today.”
Smith said the RICE principles – Reverence, Integrity, Compassion and Excellence – guide his work and inspire the servce he provides, not only as a support art for his manager, but also for staff.
“I do consider it a calling or ministry because I’m helping people, and I believe you really cannot help people if that’s not where your heart is,” he said.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 edition of Spirit of Health magazine. For more health and wellness articles like this one, learn more about Spirit of Health and how to subscribe. T