Cecelia has long sung the praises of specialty credentials for respiratory care

In addition to her 40-year career at the patient’s bedside, Cecelia Szakolczay, MAT, BSHS, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, RPFT, has taught respiratory therapy for more than three decades. Today, she has so many advanced credentials, her students often express awe at all the letters after her name.

For Cecelia, that’s music to her ears. You can have it all, too, she tells them.

A Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) with HonorHealth Scottsdale Shea Medical Center (Scottsdale, Ariz.), Cecelia is a vocal advocate for lifelong learning. With her master’s degree in teaching, she is also an adjunct professor of respiratory therapy at GateWay Community College in Phoenix. There, she encourages students to pursue specialty credentials from The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) to continually advance their skills and career opportunities. Leading by example, Cecelia is a credentialed Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist (RRT-NPS), Adult Critical Care Specialist (RRT-ACCS) and Registered Pulmonary Function Technologist (RPFT).

“It’s a personal satisfaction thing – specialty credentials enable me to keep challenging myself against the highest standards of the profession. In health care, the more we challenge ourselves to learn and advance our knowledge, the more our patients benefit.”
— Cecelia Szakolczay, MAT, BSHS, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, RPFT

Cecelia also trains U.S. Air Force nursing fellows in critical care and emergency trauma – a true testament to the wide range of career opportunities for those who demonstrate professional excellence. She recalls being deeply moved after hearing a story about a critically injured soldier who gathered courage from the sight of the American flag. As a longtime guitarist who says music “feeds her soul,” Cecelia was inspired by that story to write a song called On the Wings of an Eagle that was played at the nurses’ graduation that year.

Cecelia’s heart sings at the knowledge that her specialty credentials and experience allow her to offer so much to so many. She loves providing comfort and care to her patients, and making a big impact on new and future respiratory therapists. “I get to touch thousands of people’s lives through teaching,” she says, likening it to the act of composing music. “I help create great respiratory therapists who are dedicated to excellence in the profession, and then they go on to share the true beauty of that commitment, which is taking care of others in need.”

Like the music that feeds her soul, Cecelia’s ability to save lives and foster excellence in respiratory care gives her a strong sense of harmony and satisfaction. “All I ever want to do is make a difference. And somebody said to me once: You already have.”