Professional Networking at Your Fingertips: How AARConnect Can Be Your Best Friend

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It sometimes seems as if social media has taken over the world, and in many respects, that isn’t far off the mark. These days people communicate via Facebook, Twitter, and other sites about as regularly as they communicate in person.

The AARC saw this move toward social media early on, and back in 2010, it was time to establish a site created by AARC members for AARC members. AARConnect was born, and it continues to provide a place where members can ask questions, answer questions, and share successes and sometimes failures too with their peers in the Association.

Ariel Garnero, RRT, was an AARC International Fellow from Argentina in 1996 and has lived and worked in the U.S. for many years now. He explains why he believes AARConnect is an excellent place to network — and how more participation on the site could make it an even greater one.

Motivated by a sense of sharing

“AARConnect has let me interact with different professionals across the U.S.,” says Garnero, who currently works at MU Health in Columbia, MO. “My motivation comes from always sharing what I know, and from learning from other RTs in order to be a better RT.”

He asks and answers questions and shares resources he has come across in his attempt to seek out information about the field and how to best care for patients. When graphics are available, he posts those to AARConnect as well, with the thought that a few pictures can, indeed, be worth a thousand words. “By doing so, I have provoked thought in other professionals, and making other professionals think, or reevaluate what they do based on my post, is something very gratifying,” he says.

Garnero has been on the receiving end of these kinds of discussions as well. He recalls one instance in his hospital at the time where the active humidifier was turned off for a patient in the belief that it would impede reaching central temperature targets under the hypothermia protocol for out of hospital cardiac arrest. “After the discussion and the evidence posted in it, I could change that practice, and a new policy and procedure was created based on the discussion,” he recalls.

He also gained immeasurable value from an AARConnect discussion on the taxonomy of the modes that helped him design presentations he was preparing to give in countries in Latin America. “It was a very intense discussion, and I used all the different points of view to address all the arguments against it,” says Garnero. He says that discussion will also be on his mind as he engages in a Pro/Con debate on the taxonomy of the modes at the next Missouri Society for Respiratory Care conference.

AARConnect helps Garnero keep up with what’s happening in other hospital RC departments as well and gives him some clues as to where he might like to work — and where he might not. “I usually try to work in places where I know I will be working with RTs who not only love the profession as much as I do but also are willing to take it to the next level by sharing their knowledge and expertise,” he says. “We can all see all those things in the way they comment.”

Top three benefits

Here are Garnero’s picks for the top three benefits AARConnect delivers to the AARC membership —

  1. Capacity to interact with other members at a professional leveland gain knowledge from them. Having the chance to interact with great professionals, like Robert Chatburn, Thomas Piraino, Troy Whitaker, Maria Madden, and many others, and exchanging comments with them in an always enriching and uplifting way, is something highly valuable. I can ask for advice and know that the responses will always be positive and from knowledgeable professionals in a monitored environment, and not like on other platforms for social media, where you have to interact with rude people and in an environment full of selfies and nonsense posts.
  1. It is a great tool to use to become known by other professionals,based on the level and quality of your participation. The industry is reading what we post, and a few years ago, I was invited to participate in a workshop based on the level of my participation on AARConnect. You can meet persons who can guide you and help you grow in your career as an RT. You may meet your future coworker, your future job, or whatever destiny has for you. 
  1. It is a great tool for sharing interesting topics. I always like to question things, provoke thoughts, make things be seen from a different perspective. Sharing what you know or asking for what you would like to know in a discussion is a terrific tool. That is the way I learn — by asking and posting, although I do it most of the time by posting. I am an RT 24/7, and AARConnect gives me a way to express myself.

What would make AARConnect an even better value for AARC members? Garnero believes getting more AARC members to participate in the discussion lists more often would do the trick — and he’d like to see more discussions happening in real-time as well, rather than waiting till the end of the day for the “digest” versions to come across on email.

Get started now!

As Ariel Garnero’s example shows, discussions on AARConnect can result in changes in practice and a window into hospitals’ inner workings across the country. If you have yet to become an active participant on this professional networking site for AARC members, log on today, click on “Communities” in the top menu, post something to the Section or Community group of your choice, and see where it takes you.