A Saving Breath

March 22, 2018
Posted by
Kirsten Swanson
GMercyU Respiratory Care Professor Bill Galvin

This article was originally published in the TODAY Magazine Winter 2018 issue. 

Gwynedd Mercy University has a celebrity on campus. A celebrity in the respiratory care world, that is.

Professor William (Bill) Galvin, MSEd, RRT, CPFT, AE-C, FAARC, might not have an Oscar in his office, but he does have a Jimmy A. Young Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). He’s logged more years than Justin Bieber, One Direction, and Demi Lovato combined and has penned more chapters than Harper Lee.

Professor Galvin, who is now Assistant Professor and Program Director for GMercyU’s Respiratory Care Program, has been a respiratory therapist for more than 40 years and a faculty member at GMercyU since 1981.

He’s served on countless professional and college boards and is the recipient of numerous awards and honors. In addition to the Jimmy A. Young Medal, the AARC distinguished him with the honor of lifetime membership in 1996, and in 2005 he was inducted into the AARC Fellowship Program and received the Education Section Practitioner of the Year Award.

In the past two years, Professor Galvin received the Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Society for Respiratory Care, the A. Gerald Shapiro Award for outstanding professional achievement from the New Jersey Society for Respiratory Care, and a recent appointment to serve on the Board of Directors for the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care.

Bill has contributed to a number of publications but his greatest publishing achievement was serving as primary author and co-editor of a comprehensive 60-chapter textbook entitled, “Respiratory Care: Principles and Practice.”

His students tell him “it’s pretty cool to have your teacher be one of the authors of the very textbook they use in their program.”

While his list of accomplishments and accolades is long, Professor Galvin is the first to turn the attention to his students.

“Students are our greatest teachers as they question and challenge assumptions and teach us far more than they realize,” Professor Galvin said.

In his office he has a quote that hangs on his cabinet as a daily reminder of what it means to teach here at Gwynedd Mercy University. It reads:

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.”

Professor Galvin’s students experience just how much he cares, before even stepping foot in his classroom.

“When I came for my interview, Professor Galvin spent three hours with me and my mom answering all of our questions about the respiratory profession. He took the time to take us to the advising office and even gave us a tour of campus,” Melynne Storb ’16 said. “That’s when I knew I belonged at Gwynedd Mercy University.”

With Professor Galvin at the helm, GMercyU’s Respiratory Care program has positioned itself as one of the most prominent in the area. Employing a 3+1 model, with the first three years representing the Associate Degree and the final year being a degree completion culminating in a Bachelor of Health Science Degree, students graduate eligible to become certified respiratory therapists and registered respiratory therapists.

Students get hands-on experience working both in the state-of-the-art labs on campus and at 16 regional health care affiliates; all students participate in more than 1,000 hours of clinical education consisting of rotations in such specialty areas as critical care, pulmonary diagnostics, and neonatal/pediatric care.

As a result of GMercyU’s approach, students have a near 100% pass rate on the Certified Respiratory Therapist exam (administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care) and our Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) pass rates exceed the national average by more than 20%.

In 2015, 2016 and 2017, the program was recognized by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) to receive the Distinguished RRT Credentialing Success Award with a 90+% pass rate over the past 3-year cycle.

“Whether it be a student or the patients that we ultimately serve, ‘care’ is at the heart of what it means to be a member of the GMercyU community,” Professor Galvin said.