Valerie David, MHA, RRT-NPS, AE-C, director of respiratory care services at Piedmont Hospital in North Carolina, provides the following tips for students and young professionals as they develop their RT career.
Companies can train employees on their product for example, but you can’t train someone to have integrity, resiliency, self-confidence and work ethic. These characteristics, along with being flexible in a changing and evolving healthcare environment, are paramount.
As a manger I want to know that no matter what situation the employee is faced with they are going to be a team player—and that they are not going to create confusion, conflict, problems, and drama for themselves or others in the workplace.
Landing the dream job
The first step is to figure out what you want in a job, such as scheduling, culture, and pay. I’m a big believer that people are generally happy to help others out, if they’re just told how. So, as you are job searching, cast a wide net and see who is open to chatting. Reach out to old and new connections alike and let them know what your goals are. It’ll help them help you.
Networking is the single most valuable step in getting your dream job and keeping it. It is so easy to build your network profile through social media sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram. Most companies will have LinkedIn as an option with their recruitment teams. In addition, make sure that your school has collaborative relationships with local hospitals that provide clinical rotations, as this is the best way to interview while learning.
Grow your career
Respiratory Therapy is a rewarding career path. Our role in the hospital has grown from oxygen delivery to bedside consultant. We have a great opportunity to excel beyond just the bedside. Respiratory Therapist are now engaged in Education and training, COPD navigation, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Interventional Pulmonology, Case Management, and many other facets of patient care. The profession is very promising and we have a huge opportunity to help organizations achieve their strategic goals and missions.
From career services to educational opportunities the American Association for Respiratory Care offers Respiratory Professionals an opportunity to explore and learn about the profession as well as to keep up to date with evidence practices. AARC membership also allows the practitioner a have a voice in their government on the direction of the profession. Lastly, being a member of the AARC serves as a networking platform to connect with practitioners across the globe.
The AARC has always been an inspiration to the profession and to me in that it sets a high standard for how we practice respiratory care. The organization promotes higher education as the key to the success of the profession. I have a Master’s in Health Care Administration because my focus is leadership in the profession.
Reflect and plan
Every job-seeker needs to take the time to reflect on their career and develop some plans for their future. Think of career planning as building bridges from your current job/career to your next job/career; without the bridge, you may easily stumble or lose your way, but with the bridge there is safety and direction.
Valerie David has been a respiratory therapist for 30 years. Her current role as a respiratory care director gives her the opportunity to impact change and ensure that the profession maintains a high level of quality respiratory care.