Get to know the Respiratory Therapy Team at Artesia General Hospital!
Veronica Montoya, RRT,CPFT
I have been a registered respiratory therapist for 26 years and have been working for Artesia General Hospital for 16 years. One thing I enjoy about my career choice is being able to serve others.
When I was still a very young RT and employed elsewhere, a patient came in through the ER with cardiac tamponade (fluid around the sac of the heart). I spent my whole shift attending to this patient–working together with physicians and nurses to stabilize them. As the saying goes: “It takes a village”. The patient survived and this major, life-saving event helped me know I had made the right career choice. It was my calling.
Malorey Duran RRT, RCP
I have been a registered respiratory therapist for 10 years and have had the privilege of working for Artesia General Hospital for all of them. One of the main reasons why I enjoy being a respiratory therapist is that I truly enjoy taking care of people. I like having positive outcomes and helping patients feel better. The most important moment of my career was during COVID when respiratory therapists were needed the most. I loved being a part of the healing process and seeing the moment when a patient would recover. I knew then that I had made a difference.
Ryan Chambers CRT
I have been a respiratory therapist for a little under two years and also with Artesia General Hospital (AGH) for the same amount of time. My favorite part about being a respiratory therapist is getting to help others. I actually had the opportunity to be a student RT at AGH during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing everyone working together with a shared goal of patient care during that difficult time justified my decision to become a respiratory therapist.
Francisco Ortiz RRT,RCP
I’ve been a registered respiratory therapist for 5 years at Artesia General Hospital. Respiratory therapy is a unique and challenging profession that drew me in right away. From speaking to my instructor Momma Mavis, to getting to experience it firsthand in the field, it has always been challenging and rewarding. The moment I knew I wanted to do this as a career was in 2019, when I had a kiddo who was about one year old. She was obviously not thrilled to be admitted to the hospital but in getting her attention and letting her play with my badge or playing baby shark on my phone to help give her a breathing treatment, she became excited to see me come into the room to go visit her. After she was discharged, her mother contacted me and thanked me for caring for her daughter and being so patient with her. I was still very new to my career and receiving that message meant the world to me–it was very special. That solidified my decision to pursue respiratory therapy.
Codi Dilley, RRT-SDS
I started my RT career in 2009 and have been working for 14 years in the field. I have had the opportunity during this time to work not only as an RT but to work as a sleep specialist as well. This has given me the chance to work in a hospital setting and a private sleep lab setting. What I enjoy about my job is that I have the chance to do a variety of different things. I am not confined to the same job over and over. I knew I had made the right choice to become an RT when a former patient came up to me in the store and told me how improving his sleep had changed and improved his life. This patient had improved so much that I did not even recognize him. Hearing how well he was doing and all the things he was able to do because of improving his sleep really encouraged me to want to keep going.
Shanna Wilson RRT-SDS
I am a newbie here at Artesia General Hospital. I have been in the Sleep Lab for about three months, however, I have been an RT for ten years. Unlike most of my colleagues, I started my respiratory career in the sleep lab. Coming from a family riddled with respiratory issues from asthma to emphysema, it was not a huge leap for me to consider respiratory therapy a good choice of practice. Before I graduated from RT school, I was offered an opportunity to work in a sleep lab in Roswell. I was hesitant at first, but realized it was the best decision I have ever made. My moment of career clarity came with the treatment of a mother of three. She was tired all the time and felt that she was a horrible mom. As I listened to her story of struggle and frustration it dawned on me that I could actually change this woman’s life. I could change the lives of her family. I knew I wanted to be a part of something like that. Ten years later, here I am doing what I love and loving what I do.
Monique Frausto CRT
I’ve been an RT and at AGH for about 6 months and I love it. Every day you learn something new and there is never a dull moment. My coworkers also have a big impact on why I love being an RT–they are always there for me when I have any questions or need help with something. I knew being an RT was the right choice for me because seeing people’s quality of life improve with my skills and knowledge is such an accomplishment and very rewarding. I can’t wait to see where my career in respiratory therapy takes me.
Jennifer Briggs RRT, RCP
I have been working as a respiratory therapist since 2021. I began my journey at AGH, and after a brief hiatus, I returned because I genuinely missed the people, the sense of community, and the exceptional level of care provided there. Early on in my career as a respiratory therapist, I had the challenging experience of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Although it was a trying time, it served as a catalyst for tremendous personal and professional growth. Collaborating with the rest of the healthcare team and witnessing the recovery of patients remain the most gratifying aspects of my role.
Omar Payanes RRT, RCP
I started at AGH on December 12, 2022. I officially went full-time in August of 2023. I have been a therapist for eleven years. I love being able to help extremely sick patients and expand their care, whether it be with a Bi-PAP or vent management. Very early in my career of becoming an RT, I helped deliver twenty-six-week twins with two flight RNs, two OB teams, an entire OR, and most importantly my best friend. How you complete your job is significant, but who you complete it with can be just as vital. I feel I am at the right place at the right time. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with strong individuals–they foster growth as an individual both personally and professionally.
Mercedes A. RRT, RCP
I’ve been a registered respiratory therapist here at AGH for a little over a year now. What I love most about being an RT is it has given me the opportunity to be part of a unique profession. The respiratory field is so diverse that we are able to work with all patient types like critical care, ER and diagnostic, all in the same shift. I’m still early in my career but I’ve found a passion to grow as an individual who can make an impact on a patient’s quality of life. Sharing my compassion, knowledge and expertise shows me I made the right choice to become a respiratory therapist.
Terri Salas, RRT, RCP
I have worked here at Artesia General Hospital for 7 years. When I started, I worked as needed in the respiratory department and then I was transferred to the Sleep Lab one year later and was hired as a full-time employee. I have been a respiratory therapist for 21 years, working mostly in the home health field. My time here at AGH has been rewarding–working in the emergency room has given me experience that I did not have previously. I have learned a tremendous amount from the people that I have worked with. One of the most rewarding things that I have done while working as a respiratory therapist is setting up patients on home ventilators that otherwise would have had to stay in the hospital. I also love when patients are able to get a good night’s rest and feel refreshed in the morning–for some patients it has been years since they have had a good night’s rest. I was able to set them up on a CPAP or Bi-PAP and for some people, it changed their lives. I enjoy being a respiratory therapist; the ability to help people daily is something that makes me feel good about the service that we provide.
Learn more about Respiratory Therapy.