Thirty years ago, Angela Butler, BIS, RRT, RRT-NPS, CPFT, was a single mother working as an aquatic instructor, looking for a new career path with more financial stability. Through respiratory care, she charted a new course in life.
Angela learned the rewards of respiratory care when her father needed a tracheostomy in 1989. Intrigued, she enrolled in an educational program that, at the time, enabled her to become a Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT). As credentialing and licensing requirements changed over time, Angela returned to school for her associate degree and became a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) in 2006. Working in a children’s hospital, she quickly went beyond the basics to become a Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist (RRT-NPS) and Certified Pulmonary Function Technologist (CPFT).
Angela says specialty credentials from the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) set her on a journey that led to her current job as COPD Health Advocate RRT in Ambulatory Care Transitions at Lifespan Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I. There, she was tapped to develop a COPD program and became the first RRT in the department. At the bedside, Angela builds relationships and helps navigate patients from hospital care to community-based outpatient care with better outcomes.
“NBRC specialty credentials give you tools to seize new opportunities. If I didn’t have those credentials, I wouldn’t have this career. Specialization empowers you to expand your skills and do so much more with them.”
— Angela Butler, BIS, RRT, RRT-NPS, CPFT
Angela, 60, has taken the wheel as an advocate for pulmonary health. She leads a Better Breathers Club with the American Lung Association, supporting and educating people with chronic lung disease. She works on a community outreach Medicare initiative for COPD patients and leads data analysis efforts to fuel solutions for lowering COPD readmission rates, which have fallen significantly under her charge. She has held prominent volunteer positions including serving in the House of Delegates for the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). She trains respiratory therapy students doing hospital clinicals, and she encourages advanced certification and continuing education.
“I’m always talking about needing that tool in your tool box,” Angela says. “Why wouldn’t you want to make yourself a better professional – one that can deliver better outcomes and improve quality of life for your patients?”
Angela completed her educational goals in 2013 as a Health Services Administration Major within the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies (BIS) program at the University of Rhode Island. Today, the once-struggling single mom spends her free time on her 36-foot Catalina and says it’s all smooth sailing from here.
“I’m recognized as an essential part of my team, and I’m improving people’s lives,” she says. “It doesn’t get any more fulfilling than that.”