Five Things I Learned at AARC Congress 2015 to Make Me a Better Leader

Cheryl Hoerr Congress 2015Cheryl Hoerr, chair of the AARC’s Management Section

By Cheryl Hoerr, MBA, RRT, CPFT, FAARC

AARC Congress 2015 offered a wealth of information for respiratory care managers. The top five things I learned at AARC Congress 2015 came from these sessions —

1. Karen Schell, DHSc, RRT-NPS, RPFT, talked about the importance of manager engagement in her session, “Cultivation and Sustainable Growth — Manager Engagement.” As a health care manager I know the sometimes overwhelming demands and expectations placed on me can lead to burn out and disengagement, and a disengaged leader is bad news for employees. Karen encouraged me to avoid becoming disengaged in the workplace by taking some time to focus on reigniting my passion for respiratory care by reflecting on the reasons I chose it as a career in the first place. Passion brings energy and enthusiasm to the job and allows me to do my best work through thinking and acting as my “best self.”

2. I had the good fortune to participate in the Student Seminar. The students were so intense while gathering information on prepping for their credentialing exams, and they diligently recorded the tips for interviewing and getting hired as well. Their enthusiasm was infectious as they eagerly anticipated becoming RRTs and reminded me that my interactions with students on a daily basis can positively impact their attitudes and career choices for years to come.

3. There was a poster presentation in the Open Forum session for Management that has me considering a new way of assigning staffing for patient care areas. Julia Wright, MS, RRT, from Crouse Hospital in New York presented a model for RTs to administer floor therapy as a team, moving from one unit to the next. As a manager I am always looking for good ideas that will help our department be more effective. Since my team has expressed frustration because they are frequently interrupted during their treatment rounds, I’m looking forward to presenting the idea to them and gaining their perspective before we implement any changes.

4. Dana Evans, MHA, RRT-NPS, shared a unique perspective on dealing with disruptive employees. In “Be Your Own Superhero: Dealing with Villains in the Workplace,” she outlined a list of difficult personalities that can cause conflict within the RT department. As a leader it’s always encouraging to realize that I’m not the only one dealing with these types of personalities! I will definitely break out my inner “Superhero” and employ Dana’s excellent tips for effective conflict resolution when I am next challenged by a “Villain.”

5. Finally, who wouldn’t be inspired after listening to Amy Van Dyken speak about her Olympic career and the ATV accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down? Her story could so easily have had a tragic ending, but her rock-solid determination to stay positive and confront her situation head on was tremendously motivating to me. Leading in health care can be overwhelming and it would be easy to take the path of least resistance, to give up and go with the flow. Amy inspired me to choose a positive attitude for myself. She also taught me that no one can put limits on me unless I allow them to.

Cheryl Hoerr is director of respiratory services, the sleep center, and neurology services at Phelps County Regional Medical Center in Rolla, MO, and chair of the AARC’s Management Section.