Pulmonary Diagnostics and Respiratory Therapy Services, Manager
University of Virginia Health System
Member Since: 1996
Elections Committee Questions:
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the AARC and what do you recommend to address it?
I have seen the biggest challenge for years for the AARC as how to increase membership and then retention. Being a member of the AARC for 25 years+ and observing all the AARC benefits provided for active members and non-members, I understand the membership value. Serving in the House of Delegates and experiencing the positivity and excitement from RT students attending with their state affiliates, should be an example of eagerness and enthusiasm for active members and those potential to join. It is so important to be a member and have your voice heard and not have the few speaking for the many. Virginia is an example with around 1,300 AARC members but around 4,400 licensed respiratory therapists practicing in the state.
I think the importance of professional membership starts in the education program and should continue to be emphasized by Leadership/Management as new graduates start their career. One of our VA RT programs once had a director who encouraged students not to join.
Healthcare is changing more rapidly than ever. What do you feel is the main issue Respiratory Care Practitioners are facing, and what are the key solutions that you feel should be addressed to support our profession?
The biggest challenge is rapidly changing technology and attempting to stay up-to-date. There is a constant learning curve. If your education program or employer does not emphasize the importance of needing to be a bedside educator, quick self-learner and the best practitioner that you can be, you may struggle in your career. Service line-based RT departments offer the opportunity to become experts in trauma, medicine, cardiology, pediatrics but may not allow you to stay up-to-date in your practice.
I think key solutions are:
- Leadership/management encouragement to new hires to read, listen and watch.
- RT programs should emphasize being an educator and continuing education and not just the procedural skills to just do the job.
- Schedule a couple hours of non-clinical work time for social media, podcasts, on-line training related to healthcare or RT industry.
Your role as Director-at-large is to represent the general AARC membership. If given the opportunity to represent, how would you use your skills and experience to advance and advocate for the respiratory care profession?
UVA Health strives for excellence in patient care, training, research and knowledge. As an employee, I believe in and practice the ASPIRE values: Accountability, Stewardship, Professionalism, Integrity, Respect and Excellence. Those values have allowed me to make outstanding contributions in my leadership role both in my job and in the VSRC. Certainly, I would demonstrate those attributes in representing the AARC membership. I understand the reality of the career and for each member to have their voice heard through me in sharing information with the AARC. There is existing equity and diversity in our profession, but still some work to be done through advocacy.
I would advocate for:
- Practice standards that emphasize patient safety based on scientific evidence
- State affilates in understanding financial statements and procedures
- Educating patients, families, caregivers and the general public on the value of respiratory therapy
- RT and telehealth.