In the News

A Symbol of Growth

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September 16, 2013

The sunflower is the state flower of Kansas, and given its resilience (the seed can lay dormant for years, then sprout when conditions are right) and the fact that she hails from Kansas, Karen Schell, RRT-NPS, RPFT, RPSGT, decided it would be the perfect symbol for her year as House of Delegates chair.

She began her term by making an analogy between the flower and the need to nurture new RTs so they can grow into true professionals. When it came time to end it at AARC Congress 2012 in New Orleans, she decided to hand out little sunflower seed packets to the delegates.

“I wanted to leave them with the idea that they have the power to ‘cultivate’ professionals with their time,” she says. “The seeds were a symbol of my goals, and I hoped the members would take it to heart and go back inspired to nurture an RT ‘seed’ of their own.”

Graduation day

Matthew Grant, RRT, was in the audience that day, there as the student representative from Maine. “For some reason when Karen handed out the seeds I immediately thought about planting them,” says the AARC member and now staff therapist at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor and Mayo Regional Hospital in his hometown of Dover-Foxcroft.

But after all the activity at the meeting, and then the busy spring semester of his final year at Kennebec Valley Community College in Fairfield, the seeds went to the back burner.

“I had almost forgotten about the seeds and my idea until the day I graduated,” he says. After the ceremony and a small after-party, he returned home and spotted them on his dresser. “So in the ground they went, and the rest, as they say, is history!”

A day maker


As you can see from the photo here, the seeds Karen gave Matthew during that HOD meeting not only sprouted – they grew like gangbusters. “I'm 6'6" and a couple of these sunflowers tower over me,” says Matthew.

Watching the seeds take hold and grow inspired Matthew and he knew he would want to share the final results with Karen. He did just that a couple of weeks ago, through a photo and email explaining how the growth of the sunflowers made him realize how much he was already growing in his own RT career.

It made her day. “I received his note on a Friday evening after a very exhausting day,” says Karen. “It brought tears to my eyes and put the wind back in my sails, giving me the motivation and inspiration to continue with what I am doing for our patients.”

Moving on up

As for Matthew, he says he’s loving his new jobs and his membership in the AARC family. “I still have a lot to learn but I hope to be able to offer advice to others as the delegates offered to me,” says the new RT. “Like the sunflowers from Karen Schell from Kansas, I hope to keep moving up!”

Students: You Can Apply for HOD Program

The House of Delegates is now accepting applications from students who wish to attend the fall HOD meeting on Nov. 14 and 15.  The Student Mentoring Committee brings in students each meeting to observe and absorb the process that occurs in this governing body of the AARC.

To receive more information and an application,
contact Kerry McNiven or Kristi Hack.