Breath Easy: MMC’s Certified Asthma Educator Assists Patients with Asthma

Jan Bernier has lived in northern Wisconsin much of her life. Drawn to the big lake, Bernier couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. But, life took a sudden turn in the 90s, making her appreciate life in the North Woods that much more.

Dr Rob and Jan

Rob and Jan

It was in the 90s when Bernier developed heart problems. To compound matters, she also developed asthma. “I’d find myself with a shortness of breath and wasn’t sure if it was heart troubles or my asthma,” she explains. “I was hesitant to go to the hospital but I was told to not be embarrassed.”

It was during one of these visits where Bernier learned that Memorial Medical Center has an on-site, Certified Asthma Educator. Rob Jones received his certification in the summer of 2010, which allows him to work with patients on how to diagnose and manage their asthma.

The session often starts with Jones asking a series of questions to assist in evaluating the severity of asthma along with understanding the patient’s knowledge of asthma. This is then followed with Pulmonary Function Tests (PFT), which are a group of tests that measure lung capacity and air flow rates. Based on the findings, he can then work with patients on steps they can take to improve their situation and make recommendations to the patient’s primary care physician or nurse practitioner.

Of the session, Bernier says it was encouraging. “Sometimes we need reminders on what we can do to make our situation better. I’m encouraged to know I can do better. That in fact, I can get better.”

Bernier was also excited to learn about another great resource, close to home. “I avoid driving to Duluth when I can,” she says. “It is nice to have Memorial Medical Center right in-town. They are absolutely wonderful to work with.”

To learn more about what a Certified Asthma Educator does, continue reading.