Andrew “Drew” Green has one of the toughest jobs around, but to him, it’s one of the best. As a registered respiratory therapist in Parkland Hospital’s burn intensive care unit, he’s one of the first faces that many badly burned patients see. “If you can’t breathe, you can’t do anything else,” he says. “I want to be there first; I like to be there on the line.”
Originally from Jackson, Miss., Drew finished a three-year stint in the U.S. Army as a tank commander at Fort Hood, Texas. “I decided to get into the health profession because health care is open 24/7,” he says. “I knew there would always be work.” An associate degree in El Centro's Respiratory Care program got him a job; on the job, he discovered his life’s work.
“As a registered and licensed professional, I couldn’t work in this profession without the education I have,” says Drew, who also holds several advanced life support certifications. He has found that he loves to teach; he conducts various RT classes at hospitals and schools throughout the South, including at El Centro. “Education can change your life,” he says. “You have to focus on what’s really important to you and then concentrate on that.”
Drew’s commitment to his job at Parkland, where he has worked since 1989, and to his patients keeps him on the cutting edge of his profession. He’s one of only two respiratory therapists in the country certified with the American Burn Association to teach advanced burn life support classes — most of those certificate holders are doctors and nurses.
“My education prepared me for my profession,” he says. “The best part of my job is saving lives and being able to help people. No, that’s the best part of my life.”
Andrew Green earned an associate degree in Respiratory Care at El Centro.