At age 17, a car accident changed Matt Nolan’s life. With a severe brain injury and bilateral lung collapse, few thought he would survive. Strong-willed and mission-driven, Matt defied the odds, and during his four-month hospitalization, he found his calling: respiratory care.
Matt says his “wake-up call” came when his respiratory therapists helped him avoid life with a trach tube, successfully removing him from his ventilator one day before his scheduled tracheostomy. He became determined to pay it forward.
In 2008, Matt graduated from Texas State University (TSU) as a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) with a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care. As triumphant as that was for someone whose doctors once feared he wouldn’t finish high school, for Matt it was only the beginning. By 2012, he’d earned specialty credentialing as a Neonatal/Pediatric Specialist (RRT-NPS) and an Adult Critical Care Specialist (RRT-ACCS). In 2018 he completed his MBA in health/health care administration and management.
Matt, now 34, is Director of Cardio-Pulmonary & NeuroDiagnostics and Director of Respiratory Care for Texas Health Resources. He says specialization was a topic of interest at nearly every interview he’s had.
“I’ve had many career opportunities that may not have been there without my specialty credentials. I can directly attribute my advancement to the support and backing of my credentials from The National Board for Respiratory Care.”
— Matt Nolan, MBA, BSRC, RRT, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS
It’s not his own success that fuels him – Matt wants to be “a voice for respiratory therapists.” Having the perspective of both patient and provider, he wants in on every decision impacting the respiratory department. He wants to spur innovation and foster excellence among the next generation of therapists.
Through the doors his specialty credentials opened, Matt is doing all that and more. He provides continuing education for respiratory therapists, nurses and resident physicians. He helped add internships through the hospital and TSU, and he conducts evidence-based research on new treatment modalities. He remains tireless in his quest to answer the call by advancing respiratory care every way he can.
An outdoorsman all his life, Matt lives on a ranch with his family, breathing in the beauty of the present while also working to create a brighter future for others. “I have a story to share as an advocate for both sides of respiratory care,” he says. “I want to know I made a difference and didn’t let my second chance go to waste.”