Sharing His Passion for Patients – Randy Harris
Randy Harris, RCP, remembers the day he first became interested in working in health care. He was visiting his high school girlfriend, when her brother walked in the front door wearing a white coat. “I thought, ‘Is he a doctor?’ Randy asked. “’No, he’s a respiratory therapist.’ And I thought that sounds pretty cool.” Though he began working in the Cushing oil fields at the age of 18, that first impression led him to look for a job at a hospital just after a year later. In 1982, he started his first health care job at OU Medical Center in Edmond.
“There have been so many times in my career that I’ve left work thinking I was part a team today that helped save someone’s life,” Randy shares of working as a respiratory therapist. The father of three will never forget the times he helped resuscitate children after falling in a pool. “I remember seeing one child on the news,” he says. “To see that child sitting in a bed, playing and physically okay after I had seen that child come into the ER not breathing - he did not have a heart beat. You know, I’m rich. Who can come home from work and say I helped do that today?”
It is with that perspective that Randy walks through the front doors of Hillcrest Hospital Cushing every day. The Respiratory Manger and Sleep Lab Manager, has an appreciation for how the work he and his staff do for patients truly changes lives. They are not only patients. They are also neighbors. “It is a smaller community,” he adds. “Many of my patients I would consider friends to a degree. I see them out at restaurants. I see them out at grocery stores. We stop. We talk. Everything’s close-knit.”
Many of those patients are from The Greatest Generation. For the self-proclaimed history buff, having the opportunity to care for those who have fought for his country gives Randy a chance to work with his superheroes. “I love veterans,” he says. “I tell my sons, forget the movies with the superheroes, you have superheroes walking amongst you. These guys were just normal guys who went and did their job and basically saved the world. It doesn’t get more superhero than that.”
Whether it is helping patients relieve their breathing problems to get through the day easier, or preventing long-term health complications through the diagnosis of a sleep study, Randy still thinks it is pretty cool to come to work at a place he can impact patients’ lives. “I can look back and see the difference I’ve made in someone’s life,” he says. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”