Midwest Region Respiratory Care Director
Member Since: 1999
House of Delegates Activities:
Elections Committee Questions:
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the profession of respiratory care, and what do you recommend the ARC do to address it?
Our profession is facing a national workforce shortage combined with an increasing need for respiratory therapy services. This has created staffing challenges at many organizations across the country. The gap has widened following the COVID-19 pandemic due to early retirements, RTs leaving the profession, and reduced program enrollment. Insufficient staffing limits our ability to ensure safe staffing ratios, increases burnout, and reduces our ability to provide new and innovative care models in response to the changing healthcare environment.
The AARC can assist in closing the staffing gap by helping to increase RT program enrollment. Two tactics that can help achieve this are multi-media marketing campaigns promoting our profession and creating tools for RT programs and department leaders to use in their local recruitment initiatives. The AARC should also support evidence-based care through the development of new clinical practice guidelines to eliminate ineffective therapies.
Healthcare is changing more rapidly than ever. What ideas do you have to help today’s respiratory therapist meet these changes?
Respiratory Therapists are dynamic and intelligent care providers. I am confident that we can navigate the changing healthcare landscape and solidify our place as integral members of the patient care team. RTs should be focused on providing evidence-based medicine, including the elimination of therapies that do not improve patient outcomes. This can be done by increasing the utilization of RT-driven protocols and implementing the findings of clinical practice guidelines. Respiratory teams must also be open to new and innovative models of care.
We must also support the development of respiratory care researchers. Many of the modalities used are under-researched, so the impact on care is not clear. We must determine if the therapy performed by RTs positively impacts patient care or is a waste of resources. Finally, to meet the increasing demand for respiratory expertise, we must continue to work toward the expansion of advanced practice roles.
Two of our greatest ongoing concerns are promoting the profession and increasing membership. What are your solutions to address these needs?
The AARC is the preeminent association advocating for RTs. Despite this, membership remains at approximately 40K. When I have had the opportunity to visit with members and non-members, I have often heard two reasons RTs chose not to join: perceived lack of value and/or the association does not adequately represent them. We must address these concerns to increase our membership. This can be achieved through clear communication about the many great member services currently available, assessment of member needs, and focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Respiratory Care cannot continue to be healthcare’s best-kept secret. The AARC should build upon the multi-media marketing campaign to reach members of the public and prospective students. In addition to promoting our profession to the public, the AARC should begin working closely with hospital executive leadership groups to ensure they are aware of the tremendous value RTs bring to patient outcomes.