Henry Ford College Alumnus Wins Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award from Monroe County Community College
Henry Ford College (HFC) alumnus Nick Prush was recently presented with the Outstanding Faculty of the Year Award at Monroe County Community College (MCCC), where he’s the director of the Respiratory Therapist (RT) Program.
“It’s a very humbling experience, knowing that the people I work with are one of the best groups of people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. To be in that range, I really can’t find the appropriate words. I’m just honored to receive this award and humbled at the same time. I hope to continue doing what I’m doing. I want to create a positive impact on our students not only in my program, but in this institution as a whole,” said Prush, of Carleton.
Born in Trenton, Prush grew up in Wyandotte and graduated from Wyandotte-based Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1998. Prush played semi-professional hockey for several years until suffering a career-ending injury. That brought him to a Health Careers Expo at HFC where he met Debra Szymanski, HFC Health Careers Dept. Chair/RT Program Director. That meeting changed his life. Szymanski encouraged him to enroll in HFC’s RT Program.
“Knowing I could help people breathe for the rest of their lives sounded really intriguing to me,” said Prush.
After earning his Associate of Applied Science degree in RT in 2003, Prush transferred to Siena Heights University (SHU) in Adrian and earned his undergraduate degree in RT in 2008. In 2014, he earned his graduate degree in Health Administration from Eastern Michigan University (EMU) in Ypsilanti. Currently, he is working on his doctorate in Health Administration from Walden University in Minneapolis. In fact, he recently completed his coursework and will soon begin his dissertation.
He credits HFC for his successful career in RT.
“It actually taught me how to succeed. Ms. Szymanski played a vital role in that. I recall a lot of conversations I had with her. She made me focus on my studies and really made me become a better person overall,” said Prush.
He began his RT career at the University of Michigan (U-M) Hospital in Ann Arbor. From there, he worked at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, which is part of the Henry Ford Health System (HFHS). He also worked at Beaumont Hospital-Royal Oak before returning to HFHS, only this time at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital.
In fact, it was at the West Bloomfield location when it first opened its doors in 2009 where Prush jumped at the chance to be the founder of its RT dept.
“I left my job at Beaumont to take on this role. It was an opportunity of the lifetime to work at a hospital starting from the ground up. It was quite an experience to see a hospital grow from start to finish. This made me want to move into hospital administration because I got to see the behind-the-scenes operations of a hospital. Once I started there and got settled in, I contacted Oakland Community College (OCC) and created an articulation agreement with its students,” said Prush.
Prush began his teaching career at OCC. From there, he went to MCCC in 2010. He began as an adjunct faculty member, then became a full-time faculty member in 2011. For four years, he was the MCCC Director of Clinical Education before becoming the MCCC Director of the RT Program, replacing Bonnie Boggs, who founded it in 1981.
“She’s been very vital for giving this opportunity, so I’m very thankful to her. For me, the best part of my job is to see my students succeed in the RT field; it means the world to me. Their success is my success,” said Prush.
Szymanski has high praise for her former student.
“I am very pleased and proud to offer congratulations on behalf of HFC’s RT program and myself to Nick on receiving this prestigious award at MCCC. I served as Nick’s RT program director. I have been fortunate to watch Nick excel in respiratory care as he has advanced from a clinical respiratory therapist to a hospital manager and now as an educator and program director at MCCC. I wish him well in all his future endeavors,” said Szymanski.