Sergakis: Best Career Decision I Ever Made

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Georgianna Sergakis, PhD, RRT, CTTS

Life is full of choices, and that extends to your career as well. Indeed, in a profession like respiratory care, there is seemingly no end to the directions you can take. In the second installment of this occasional series here in Career News, we hear from Georgianna Sergakis, PhD, RRT, CTTS, an assistant professor in the RT program at The Ohio State University in Columbus, who explains why she decided to walk down the RT educator path and how that decision has played out.

What was the best career decision you ever made?

The best career decision that I have made was to become an educator in respiratory therapy. I was extremely fulfilled as a bedside RT working at The Ohio State University (OSU) Medical Center and Grant Medical Center in Columbus, OH, in the ICU and trauma areas after graduation. I always especially enjoyed the interactions with patients when we could talk about their treatments and during times when I could share information that was new to them about managing their pulmonary disease.

When the opportunity to become a lab instructor for the OSU RT program became available, I immediately expressed interest, with the thought that this could help me further develop my skills in patient education. These early experiences teaching RT students in the lab and as a clinical instructor in the hospital solidified my decision to further my education and become a professor.

Why was this the best career decision you ever made?

As a lab, clinical, and classroom instructor, I found that I could feel that same satisfaction that I felt with the patients when I was working with the RT students. I still get a sense of pride and accomplishment when I can get the students to feel excited and share my passion about the opportunities we have to make a difference and advance respiratory therapy.

Originally, I thought my impact in our profession would have been one patient at a time. Now, as an educator, I see my contribution in a significant, yet different light. I enjoy the opportunities to contribute to expanding the evidence-base through research and publications. I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to work with my talented peers to develop education for students and RTs alike, like the AARC’s Clinical PEP and Exam Prep programs. I look forward to the current and future opportunities I will have to advocate that our profession utilize our extensive knowledge and preparation to advance and expand, such as our work in contributing to treating tobacco dependence and disease self-management, as well as the exciting development of a mid-level provider role — the Master’s prepared Advanced RT Practitioner.