This month in our Specialty Practitioner of the Year (SPOTY) Spotlight series, we’re learning more about our Education SPOTY: Monica Schibig, MA, RRT, RRT-NPS, CPFT.
Back to the beginning
Schibig graduated from the University of Missouri RT program in 1989 and worked clinically full time for 12 years, mostly in neonatal pediatrics at Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO. She then started teaching part time in 1995 and switched to full-time teaching in 2001.
“That was also the year I became a program director for the first time,” Schibig said. “Fast forward 16 years and three programs later, and I’m back at the University of Missouri where it all began. While I’m now the program director and not the student, life seems to have come full circle!”
Finding a lifeline in the AARC
Since she graduated in 1989, Schibig has been an AARC member. Her appreciation for the organization has grown through the years as she has found “a multitude of benefits.”
“Thanks to my AARC membership, I was able to serve on my state’s board of directors in various roles,” Schibig said. “That experience gave me the confidence and connections to continue to seek out leadership opportunities, serve on AARC committees, receive awards and scholarships, and speak at the Summer Forum and Congress.”
For Schibig, being part of the Education Specialty Section gives her a strong network of resources. Members are willing and open to sharing their best practices so that new educators are not burdened with ‘reinventing the wheel.’
“When I was a new educator/program director, I realized quickly that the education section was a lifeline,” Schibig said.
She continued to explain that, for program directors and instructors, the section is “an abyss of knowledge, resources, and support that is unmatched anywhere in healthcare.”
“For years I appreciated the mentorship, now I relish being the mentor!” Schibig said.
Advice for new members
“Network and become involved,” Schibig said, when asked what advice she would offer new members. “It will provide you multiple opportunities to make a difference and find your niche.”
She encourages new members to make a commitment to attend the Summer Forum and Congress meetings.
“You will not be disappointed and will leave with new knowledge, new friends, and a renewed sense of pride in the profession of respiratory care,” Schibig said.
She also advises new members to be informed of their AARC member benefits and fully use them. Schibig even recommends bringing colleagues into the membership as well.
“Finally, do your homework! Become familiar with all that the AARC has to offer,” Schibig said. “If each member took it upon themselves to market the AARC benefits and recruit just one other person, the resulting services and advocacy for our patients would significantly improve.”
Earning the Education Specialty Section SPOTY award instilled instant gratitude in Schibig, along with a desire to further strengthen the profession.
“It’s quite humbling actually,” Schibig said. “When I look at the list of past recipients and see the names of educators I have looked up to and admired as ‘education icons,’ it’s hard to believe that I am worthy of their company. It comforts me to know that hopefully I have been able to give back to a profession that has bestowed so much on me.”
Leading by example, Schibig strives to live up to her SPOTY honor each day through her dedication and service to her colleagues.
“With this award comes the responsibility of honoring it, so it will serve as an inspiration to continue to strive to influence the next generation of respiratory therapists,” Schibig said. “I believe that maximizing human potential throughout a lifetime is the ultimate goal of education.”
For 2017-2018, eight specialty sections in the AARC each selected one member to be named Specialty Practitioner of the Year (SPOTY) for their section. Criteria for this award included the nominee’s professional service, leadership, as well as whether the individual has furthered the art of science of respiratory care through outstanding contribution to, or service in, a specialty area of practice. We will feature each of our SPOTY members throughout the year in a special SPOTY Spotlight.