RTs Share Their Top Professional Goals

Professional Goals

Professional goals often provide drive and motivation to continually enhance your career. We asked AARC members to tell us what’s most important to them when goal planning and we found that education, improving patient care, and even advocating for health care in the national arena top the list.

Spreading the word

“My top professional goal in respiratory care, specifically sleep medicine, is to educate RTs and other health care providers how to recognize signs and symptoms of sleep disorders,” said Tamara Douglass-Burton, EdD, MS, RRT, clinical associate professor in the department of interprofessional health studies at Towson University in Towson, MD. “This is important because many of our patients are either not diagnosed, underdiagnosed, or misdiagnosed, which increases the development of comorbidities and decreases quality of life.”

Dr. Douglass-Burton devoted her dissertation to this mission.

“I created a series of modules that can be delivered in a hybrid or online format, which can be integrated into any class,” Dr. Douglass-Burton said.

For Kelly Welton, BA, RRT-NPS, a respiratory therapy consultant from Torrance, CA, educating her colleagues about pediatrics and pulmonary rehabilitation is job one.

“There is a lot of great info out there on advanced pediatric respiratory care, but I felt that many hospitals without a PICU were still expecting their RTs to be experts when a baby or child came in to the ED, or ended up in PACU, or decompensated on the pediatric floor,” Welton said. “And it’s really hard to get into pulmonary rehab and learn the essentials.”

She has written two seminars on these topics and presents one or the other live once a month. Her goal is to present these educational sessions at least once in every state in the union before she is done.

As a member of the TICU trauma/surgery-critical care team at University Medical Center in New Orleans, LA, Terry L. Forrette, MHS, RRT, FAARC, believes it is important for him to educate his colleagues on the theory and principle, as well as newest technology and concepts, related to cardiopulmonary care, with an emphasis on mechanical ventilation and bedside monitoring.

“I participate in daily ICU rounds, give classes and lectures to the residents and fellows, and involve them and fellow RCPs in my research,” Forrette said.

From the classroom to the ballot box

For Jodylynn Rolla, RRT, CPFT, of Ohio, preparing the next generation of RTs is critical to the future of the profession and she’s working to further that goal by upping her own educational level so she can take part in the effort.

“I currently have my bachelor’s degree, and to teach full time in a bachelor’s program I must have a master’s degree,” Rolla said. “So, at 52, I went back to graduate school at Youngstown State University and only have four classes left in my quest to obtain my master’s degree in respiratory care. I’m looking forward to a hopeful career change in the coming year.”

Ed Coombs, MA, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, FAARC, is director of marketing for intensive care at Draeger, Inc., and dedicates his career to bringing new technologies to the bedside, a process that involves everything from acquiring FDA approvals to preparing the market in terms of training, acceptance, and adapting to change. It all takes time and resources, but he believes it’s essential to furthering advancements in patient care.

“Successfully bringing innovative technology to the bedside that has a lasting impact to improving the lives of our patients brings a level of satisfaction to me personally,” Coombs said.

Most RTs work on professional goals related to the RT jobs they already have or the RT jobs they want to acquire. William Pollard, MS, RRT, RPSGT, an RT with the Florida Hospital Heartland Division, is taking his passion for improving health care in general to the ballot box.

“On July 28 I publicly announced my candidacy for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. House of Representatives Florida District 17 position in 2018,” Pollard said. “At this point, my top health care goal is to keep the Affordable Care Act from being repealed and to have it strengthened so it is truly affordable to all.”