This month in our Specialty Practitioner of the Year (SPOTY) Spotlight series, we’re learning more about our Neonatal-Pediatrics SPOTY: Melissa K. Brown, BS, RRT, RRT-NPS, RCP.
Brown graduated from the Grossmont College Respiratory Therapy program in 1990 and later received her BSRT from the University of Kansas. Her first clinical job was at Rady’s Children’s Hospital in San Diego as a trauma and an advanced life support transport RT and PICU educator.
“[This is] where I also became involved in clinical research and published my first research paper,” Brown said.
In 2000, she moved to Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns as the NICU Clinical Specialist. Subsequently, she began teaching Respiratory Therapy students at her alma mater as part time and then full-time faculty.
After a six-year stint in a research role in adult critical care, she is back at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital where she is a clinical research coordinator at the Neonatal Research Institute. Brown now gets “the opportunity to test and implement leading edge treatments and procedures for neonates.”
“I am proud to be a respiratory therapist because of the impact our skills and expertise make on individual patient care and of the way we work collaboratively to find unique solutions to complex problems,” Brown said.
Research led to the AARC
“I was introduced to the benefits of AARC membership as I became interested in publishing my research findings and an AARC member suggested I submit to the AARC OPEN FORUM at the International Congress,” Brown said.
It was there she discovered the Neonatal Pediatric Specialty Section meeting and the Neonatal Pediatric OPEN FORUM.
“I was introduced to a bunch of people who knew so much more than I did, but were so willing to share information and experiences with me,” Brown said. “I was inspired by their knowledge and achievements to pursue research and speaking opportunities at Congress and State Society meetings, all of which directly lead to most of the employment opportunities which came after.”
For Brown, being a member of the Neonatal–Pediatrics Specialty Section “is a huge benefit to have access to fellow AARC members who form a large network of neonatal pediatric experts.” She continued to explain that many members may have already encountered the challenges she is facing and can then provide their expertise, advice, and solutions.
“I have learned so much from all of the other members of the section,” Brown said.
The AARC OPEN FORUM also introduced Brown to the RESPIRATORY CARE Journal and the important avenue that it provides for respiratory therapists to publish research.
“This was a critical pathway to the advancement of my career,” Brown said. “My AARC membership is very important to me mostly for all the amazing people I have met through the organization, how much they have taught me, and the wonderful friendships I have made there.”
Brown encourages all of her students and colleagues to become AARC members.
“We are stronger as a group than as individuals and the AARC is the one organization that is always in our corner as professionals,” Brown said.
Interested in Research?
Check out the AARC’s 2018 Leadership Institute-Research Track.