Karen Schell, DHSc, MHSc, BSRC, RRT-NPS, RRT-SDS, RPFT, RPSGT, AE-C, CTTS
Assistant Clinical Professor
KU Medical Center, Respiratory Care Education
Kansas City, KS
Member Since: 1987
Elections Committee Questions:
What AARC or Chartered Affiliate offices/positions have you held where you feel you made a significant contribution to our profession? What is the contribution and how will you apply it to your new position, if elected?
I became a student member of the KRCS/AARC in 1987 and accepted a KRCS BOD position in 1989. I have held various KRCS, HOD, and AARC BOD offices and served on a number of committees. Serving as HOD speaker-elect, speaker, and past speaker and AARC director-at-large and secretary/treasurer has given me the opportunity to help improve committee engagement, communication, and function of the KRCS, HOD, and AARC BOD. Through strategic planning, organizational development, participation, seeking feedback, timely communication, and accountability, I have improved my skills as a leader. I feel that serving in these capacities has contributed to renewed enthusiasm, improved member involvement, forward vision, and a smoother running board.
If elected, the skills learned over the previous years will be helpful in moving the organization forward to benefit the membership. One-on-one mentoring, accountability, open communication, and feedback are some of the lessons learned that can contribute to the success of the organization. Past experiences from the grass roots up contribute to understanding the needs of the members and the profession.
What experience would you bring to the AARC to accomplish the goals set out by President Walsh?
As new faculty at a BSRC program moving from management to education, I feel I am in an excellent position to move the profession forward to a minimum level of BSRC by developing relationships with existing AS programs and engaging the membership to embrace higher education. As a previous manager of a full-service department, I know first-hand of the requirements needed to keep our profession engaged to serve our patients’ health care needs in the future. As secretary/treasurer of the AARC, I feel my networking experience, professional experience, personal experience, and committee work over the years has helped moved the profession forward to the ongoing vision and goals of the AARC by showing our value in improving the care of our patients. Working on the various committees has grown my ability to make change occur, work with a variety of personalities and organizations, and understand complicated issues that can take the profession forward to meet the challenges ahead.
What ideas do you have to attract non-members to join the AARC?
I believe it is important to engage non-members through personal contact, inclusion, and mostly by listening to their needs. Sometimes by quiet reflection and deep listening, the listener can gain more knowledge and understanding of an individual’s unique perspective. Acknowledging and understanding why a person chooses not to be a member can give insight on how to engage them to want to be part of the organization. I believe mentoring individuals is the best way to reach out and get buy-in. Knowing someone and putting oneself in their shoes by connecting can open them up to new opportunities and experiences.
How would you, as AARC President, work to move the profession forward based on the work done by our current and previous presidents?
We must advance the profession to meet the future challenges in health care by continuing to move toward baccalaureate education and degree by providing opportunities for advanced practice through higher education. Providing educators the resources and tools to ease the transition from associate to baccalaureate degree is essential to make this happen. Accelerating the development of master’s programs for individuals seeking higher education is necessary to retain high performers in the field and develop future educators and researchers.
Transparency of information and collaboration of organizations is necessary to expedite the demand for qualified respiratory care professionals. As president, I would cultivate strong, productive relationships and create open channels for communication. I would seek best practices with measured outcomes to support the growth of the profession, and ensure optimal patient care that is cost effective and safe for our patients.
I would work to ensure continued growth of the profession by providing the template for strong leadership development through AARC workshops, strategic planning, and one-on-one mentoring of state societies, HOD, and AARC BOD leaders.
I have been an active member of the organization over many years, and held many roles throughout the organization both locally and nationally. I have been president, treasurer, and secretary of my state society, served as speaker of the HOD, director on the AARC BOD, and now secretary/treasurer which have prepared me to meet the requirements for this position. I was also a manager of a diverse cardiopulmonary services department in which I have had to deal with the day-to-day function of managing a budget, staff, and patient care. As a new educator in a BSRC program, I know the importance of preparing our students to meet the challenges ahead. I feel I can bring membership concerns and goals to the board. My experience as a therapist, society member, volunteer, and patient advocate can help me bring perspective to the board that encompasses past and future needs. Engaging AARC members through communication, involvement, participation, and personal interaction as a board member is a goal I would strive for, if elected. My experience transitioning from a student to a leader through the KRCS and work environment has enabled me to recognize the needs of the members and has contributed to my success as a leader. Speaking engagements for different state societies and chairing and leading committees in my work environment and organization has given me a wider perspective and the opportunity to understand the individual needs and concerns of volunteer members, patients, physicians, staff, and administration. Working with a large university has given me the knowledge needed to move programs through a complex educational system.
I have served in many positions in the KRCS and AARC that have professionally prepared me for this position. In the workplace, my role as the director of a diverse cardiopulmonary services department and the completion of my formal education by earning a Doctorate of Health Sciences has given me the ability to multi-task and develop my skills. Moving to the educational field has given me the opportunity to mold the next generation of students into professionals that can meet the opportunities and challenges ahead. I am open to change and consider it a challenge to perform to the best of my ability while doing what is right for members, staff, and patients. I enjoy a challenge and can contribute and provide input while thinking outside of the box to make things happen. I love my profession, love interacting with and learning about people, and have fun while making a difference for our profession and our patients.