Shellie R. Moore, M.Ed., RRT, RRT-NPS, is the program director and assistant Professor for the respiratory care program at Gannon University in Pennsylvania. She shares advice for students on how to stand out among their peers.
The unique student opportunity
“Rapid Response Team”
“Incoming Trauma; eta 3 min”
These adrenaline-boosting announcements will get any respiratory student up and on their feet to respond. So, what makes you stand out among others? Why would managers and other respiratory therapists WANT to work with you?
The answer is: being a student gives you an amazing opportunity to shine during a 1½ – 2 year job interview!
During your time as a respiratory student you will be assigned to clinical courses in which you learn and practice under the supervision of a licensed respiratory therapist. The point here is that knowledge is key, but it’s more than the didactic (classroom information) knowledge that counts.
Clinical time provides you the opportunity to apply classroom understanding and demonstrate enthusiasm to learn. Being excited and involved during all times (i.e. critical situations and less exhilarating task-completing circumstances) demonstrates a strong interest to learn, as well as a desire to learn to lead.
Use your network
Ask preceptors to help test your knowledge during safe AND stressful situations.
During my own student clinical experiences, my now best friend and I would literally stiff-arm each other (of course, all in fun) to be the first to the code.
Additionally, our favorite game during down-time was playing ‘what-if’ with our preceptors: What-If patient X came into the ED and had ________ symptoms? We would then provide recommendations to our preceptors.
The preceptors loved us and the managers couldn’t wait to be able to share offers of employment, much of which was due to our enthusiasm and desire to help other members of the respiratory team.
Every day is a first impression
Remember your appearance reflects your professional goals and commitment to how you are perceived by others. You are a professional in the making. An enthusiastic attitude, plus clean, neat, wrinkle-free scrubs and lab coats, along with AARC and state professional memberships show that you care about and take pride in yourself, and are committed to the profession. Your AARC membership also signifies that you care about the professional organization that is devoted to working for you to enable you to work at your highest possible scope of practice.
Maintain consistent enthusiasm through each semester of clinical, not just the first couple weeks. Always ask to take on new responsibilities, lead the way to the codes (or ask to go to a code or special procedure). Find ways to create learning opportunities and offer to do monotonous things like stocking closets, cleaning vents, replacing hydration bags, etc., for the therapists on staff.
Doing these things and more will help you to stand out.
Shellie Moore resides in Franklin, PA with her husband Mark. Her journey in respiratory care began at Clarion University Venango Campus where she earned an associate of science degree. She then worked as a pediatric respiratory therapist, specializing in infants with congenital heart disease at Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh, while pursuing her bachelor’s degree simultaneously online from Boise State University. She progressed in her career, becoming the director of clinical education at Clarion University Respiratory Care, her alma mater. During this time she completed her masters of education degree in Educational Leadership from Edinboro University. In 2016, she became the program director of the respiratory care program at Gannon University, in Erie, PA.