Laurie Niemer hopes her passion for the respiratory therapy field is contagious so that her students can embark on a career as successful as her .
It started in 2003 when, newly divorced with one of three children still at home, Niemer began looking at employment options. After she began taking classes at Macomb, she attended a Respiratory Therapy program open house and that is all she needed to convince her that she had found her calling.
“I wanted to be in the health care field, but never knew about respiratory therapy,” says Niemer, who worked her way through college as a restaurant manager and a store detective at Meijer. “It is such a pleasure to use your knowledge to help people. And the same goes for teaching. I’m very involved in my students’ education.”
Just before graduating from Macomb in 2005, Niemer was hired by St. John Hospital after completing her clinical experience there. She has provided respiratory therapy to patients in the neonatal, pediatric, ICU and ER departments.
“ER was my favorite. The fast pace kept you on your toes, but it was crazy,” says Niemer. “At least once a shift, someone came in with a gunshot wound.”
One of the most gratifying moments in her career, however, didn’t occur in a hospital or a classroom. It was when the daughter of a friend reached out to Niemer on Facebook for information on how to deal with her young son’s asthma attack.
“I helped her understand what was happening with her son and what to do,” relates Niemer. “She let me know that after the cool shower I suggested, he was doing much better.”
So dedicated is Niemer to the respiratory therapy field that she applied to serve on the Michigan Board of Respiratory Care and was appointed to a four-year term by Governor Rick Snyder last month.
“I’m active in our state society,” says Niemer, “and members told me they needed someone to be on the board to work on making our licensure procedure better.”
Niemer holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Respiratory Therapy from Carrington College and a master’s degree in Education from Northeastern University. She worked as clinical coordinator of the Respiratory Therapy program at Oakland Community College before accepting the full-time teaching and clinical coordinator position at Macomb in 2015.
“This is like home. It’s the place that gave me a new look on life and at the greatest profession,” says Niemer. “Coming here was the best decision I ever made.”