AARC LIVE! Leading Beyond COVID-19 is a Great Way to Boost Your Pandemic Expertise


This July the AARC is hosting a series of four virtual courses that focus squarely on the kind of information RTs need to take a leadership role in their facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Offered online on July 7, 9, 21, and 23, the AARC LIVE! Leading Beyond COVID-19 sessions target four key areas — Education, Leading Perspectives, Adult Acute Care, and Leadership and Management — and presenters represent a range of expertise across the country.

Unprecedented times

The idea for the virtual sessions grew out of the need to ensure therapists are up to speed with the latest COVID-19 developments during this time when face-to-face education is problematic at best.

“These are unprecedented times that call for a different way of doing things,” explained J. Brady Scott, MSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS, AE-C, FAARC, FCCP, one of the presenters. “I think the AARC LIVE! sessions give RTs the ability to stay engaged with continuing education, while simultaneously observing local and national recommendations that pertain to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Sarah Brundidge, MSc, RRT, AE-C, CPFT, who will also speak during one of the sessions, agrees this is “just in time” education for the situation at hand. “Virtual learning opportunities take away the problems of accessibility and additional prohibitive costs that can be associated with travel,” she said. “Virtual learning really opens the possibilities for more attendees.”

Ted Bond, MBA/HCA, BSRT, RRT, another speaker on the agenda, notes COVID-19 has not hit every place in the country equally and those who have yet to experience the worst of it should embrace this opportunity to learn from their peers. “We should not be isolating ourselves while others are learning from a pandemic and have information to share that could be invaluable to you and certainly your patients,” he said.

Covering all the bases

According to Brundidge, therapists who attend one or more of the AARC LIVE! sessions will gain a wealth of knowledge from their colleagues who have been on the frontlines. It’s information they can put to use now and in the future.

For example, the Adult Acute Care sessions delve into everything from the science behind prone positioning to the safe and effective delivery of aerosolized medications. Educators will have the chance to hear more about teaching students in a virtual environment, as well as listen to the CoARC update on standards, policies, and reporting typically presented at the Open Forum.

Sessions scheduled for the Leadership & Management track will explore issues ranging from supply chain management during a pandemic to the role of telehealth and more, while the Leading Perspectives track — offered as a bonus to those who sign up for full four-track bundle of AARC LIVE! — will tackle topics like mass casualty ventilation and the Strategic National Stockpile, ethical decision-making in a pandemic, and mitigating burnout.

“It is essential that we take lessons learned and apply them to improve our clinical practice, information sharing, and resource allocation for the likely event of similar outbreaks,” Brundidge said. “The various tracks of AARC LIVE! will provide the opportunity for individuals to gather information and collaborate from all vantage points of our profession.”

Scott agrees the AARC LIVE! sessions will go a long way to ensuring RTs are ready the next time something like COVID-19 comes their way. “I sincerely believe we can be more prepared for the next pandemic, but RTs will need to take an active approach to this now to assure we are ready,” he said.

Bond says the wide variety of topics on the agenda will help RTs everywhere better understand the range of issues involved in caring for these patients. “During this time, each of us as RTs have specific roles that we are focused on,” he said. “Having the different areas of focus will help us to ‘whole’ the skills we are seeking.”

The bottom line

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised awareness of the respiratory care profession, and many people both inside and outside of health care finally have a better understanding of the important role RTs play in the nation’s health care system. These AARC LIVE! sessions can help any therapist — from the bedside practitioner to the most seasoned manager or educator — leverage that newfound awareness to take a leadership role in pandemic care.

Here’s the bottom line from these three AARC LIVE! speakers on how your participation can boost your career —

These troubling times require leaders. Folks taking part in AARC LIVE! are demonstrating two things, in my opinion: 1) professionalism, by way of actively participating in continuing education, and 2) leadership, by way of acknowledging the reality COVID-19 is not over and that RTs MUST lead during this time. — Brady Scott

Learning from those who have been in the “trenches” of this pandemic can help you be ready for what you will experience on the job, and can help educate you on the latest treatments and what is working for patients as well as for RTs. — Ted Bond

Respiratory care was given a spotlight during this pandemic. It is time we show the incredible knowledge and skills we have and demand a place at the care team and leadership tables. We can only do that by making sure we take responsibility for our learning and preparation to be a readily available asset. By demonstrating a comprehensive and up-to-date understanding of the pandemic, it not only positions you as a current essential team member, but also as a valuable resource for the future. — Sarah Brundidge