JOPLIN, Mo. — Taking a breath is something most of us don’t even think about. But when a patient isn’t getting enough oxygen, Dixie Hames wants to make sure there’s a friendly face to help them out.

“Dixie’s modesty won’t let her tell you all the things are awesome about Dixie,” said Mike McFall, Assistant Director of Freeman Respiratory Therapy.

It’s a long list according to Mike McFall.

“Doesn’t matter what areas she steps in the hospital, she’s going to be the expert. And is going to be able to lend her experience. She’s going to be able to, think mentor is the right word, mentor younger therapists, nurses, physicians, even just with her experience and her knowledge,” Mike added.

Dixie Hames started with Freeman Health System 18 years ago. At the time, she knew she was interested in healthcare, but wasn’t sure where to start. Respiratory therapy quickly became a focus.

“I like helping people breathe in, just easing their fears of not being able to breathe and just showing people that there’s someone that cares,” said Dixie Hames, Respiratory Therapist.

Dixie has seen big improvements in equipment and technology, making her job easier and patient outcomes better. But her favorite part of the work week is helping in the emergency department.

“Fast paced like the fast pace and not knowing exactly what’s coming in, you know, it’s kind of keeps you keeps you on your toes, keeps you thinking and applying your knowledge and skills,” Dixie said.

Dixie works the night shift, which comes to a higher level of responsiblity, something she embraces.

“We have protocols, they kind of trust our judgment and we kind of get to really use our skills that that way,” Dixie added.