Faces of CNM: Arianna Tami-ing

Arianna’s unique ability to empathize with her patients after overcoming her own health issues is just one of the reasons why she’s been able to succeed as a student in CNM’s Respiratory Therapy program
March 24, 2022

Arianna Tami-ing is no stranger to hospitals. When she was born, Arianna was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and given only a 20 percent chance of survival. She overcame the odds, but not before undergoing three open heart surgeries as a child.

After dealing with her own health issues, you might think that a hospital is the last place where Arianna would want to spend her time. But that’s not the case. She’s currently in CNM’s Respiratory Therapy program and looks forward to serving others who are struggling with health problems.  

“I always knew I wanted a career where I was able to give back to my community in the same way that other medical professionals have given to me and my family,” she says.

Arianna started her career working at an out-patient sports medicine clinic in Santa Fe after earning her bachelor’s degree in pre-physical therapy. But it was her desire to work in a hospital that motivated her to apply to CNM’s Respiratory Therapy program two years ago.

“Before COVID-19, a lot of people didn’t even know what a respiratory therapist was or just how important they are,” Arianna says. “If a patient is on a ventilator, we have control of that ventilator. We’re also included in patient rounds alongside doctors and nurses.”

For Arianna, affordability was one of the biggest reasons she decided to attend CNM. She also appreciates how dedicated her instructors are and the close-knit atmosphere that’s developed among the students in the program. Her favorite thing about CNM, however, has been getting to work with real patients during clinicals.

“I’m an introvert so I knew that during clinicals I would need to push myself. Being able to work with patients definitely gave me a leg up as far as learning to communicate with them,” Arianna says. “It’s been an amazing experience and something that I definitely won’t take for granted.”

The ability to not take anything for granted has become like something of a superpower for Arianna, who just last year had to be admitted into UNM Hospital because of a collapsed lung in the middle of attending clinicals. But instead of letting that experience discourage her, Arianna says that she feels lucky to be able to relate to her patients on such a deep level.

“It gave me even more insight into what my future patients are going to be feeling,” she says. “Because of what’s happened to me, I can actually say, ‘I know what you’re going through but it will get better.’ I’m able to empathize with them in a way that not everyone can.”

Arianna is set to graduate from CNM with an associate degree in Respiratory Therapy next month. She hopes to get a job at a hospital in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) or the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU).

Eventually, Arianna would like to become a flight respiratory therapist, which is someone who specializes in providing respiratory care and treatment for patients being transported by air. She credits her instructors at CNM for inspiring her to aim high when it comes to her future career, and recommends the program to anyone who might be interested in healthcare.

“Don’t overlook respiratory therapy. It’s an eye-opening field and there are so many opportunities that aren’t offered in any other program,” Arianna says.