This month in our Specialty Practitioner of the Year (SPOTY) Spotlight series, we’re learning more about our Diagnostics SPOTY: Curt R. Merriman, BA, RRT, CPFT.
As an RT student, Merriman selected PFT as an elective clinical rotation, which is when he developed an interest in diagnostics.
“I became supervisor over a PFT lab early in my career and continued to learn and advance my knowledge,” Merriman said. “As I moved into varying RT director roles in smaller hospitals my responsibilities continued to be providing the PFT testing.”
With more than 38 years of experience, Merriman feels earning the respect of patients, caregivers, providers, nurses and other allied health professionals is vital to providing strong patient care.
“This respect is earned when we as respiratory therapists act as professionals, collaborate, communicate, and advocate for the pulmonary patients in all venues of care,” Merriman said. “I am proud to be a respiratory therapist because I see how our profession can and does make a difference in the care and quality of patients’ lives.”
Shaping your career path
“As an AARC member I could vote for our leadership on a state and national level that I felt would have the best impact on our profession,” Merriman said. “As a member, I could and did participate in our state society and our national organization which has opened up both personal and professional growth.”
Merriman also credits networking and forming friendships across the country as another benefit of AARC member that’s a help career building.
“I am humbled by the knowledge and talent we have in our profession,” Merriman said.
For Merriman, AARConnect is an excellent resource to help him keep up-to-date in the various sections and communities he takes part in. It also allows him to keep in touch with professionals he has met and worked with through the AARC. He also feels attending AARC Congress is a significant learning and fun resource to him as an RT professional.
Furthermore, being a member of the diagnostics specialty section gives him the chance to see what others are doing in diagnostics.
“It helps to keep me up-to-date on the latest guidelines, procedures equipment and techniques,” Merriman said. “I promote and suggest being a specialty section member to my colleagues often.”
He continues to explain that the diagnostic specialty section provides a continuous information and learning.
“The questions, answers, and contributions made by my peers and leaders in pulmonary diagnostics is relative to the patient care and procedures I am a part of in my profession,” Merriman said. “This resource is an incredible benefit provided by the AARC and its members.”
Connected, engaged, and involved
Merriman encourages all AARC members to stay connected and engaged and to get involved.
“Not everyone is interested in leadership positions at the state or national level, however engaging with your peers through the AARC will allow you to network with some of the brightest and fun RTs in our profession,” Merriman said. “Using your membership as a professional resource will only enhance and keep you ‘in the know’ so you can be an expert, all while delivering critical thinking and professional caring for our patients.”