For many RTs, an aspiration of leading an RT department in a hospital or other facility tops their career goal list. So why would anyone give up such a position once they had already achieved it?
Brent Murray, MSRT, RRT, did just that, and he believes it was the right choice for him.
A passion to teach
Murray’s change in career direction started back in the spring of 2008 when he decided to pursue a master’s degree.
He was looking to move up the ranks in his hospital and knew he’d need a higher degree to do it.
“I wanted a different direction in my respiratory therapy career,” he said. “I had been in a leadership role for almost 10 years and I realized that if I wanted to advance within the hospital I worked at, that a master’s degree would help me be much more competitive.”
But what kind of master’s should he go for? He turned to some of his mentors to get their opinion and also phoned a few friends he had among ventilator vendors to see what they thought too.
“Ultimately, I decided to pursue a master’s of science degree with a concentration in respiratory therapy from Georgia State University (GSU),” Murray said. “This decision allowed me to focus on the topic I centered my career on — RT”
It also provided him with an opportunity to serve as a graduate teaching assistant, and before he knew it, his career direction was in the midst of a 180 degree turn.
“This was the opportunity I was looking for!” he said. “I loved working with the students and relished every opportunity to be in front of them. I am very thankful for the opportunities that were afforded to me during my graduate school experience.”
Murray finished his master’s degree program in December of 2009 and shortly thereafter resigned from his management position at the hospital and went back to being a bedside therapist, requesting to be paired with students or new employees.
“It revitalized my career with a newfound focus and clarity,” Murray said.
While he worked that job he kept in close contact with his professors at GSU and was eventually offered some part-time teaching opportunities. He jumped on them, noting he was willing to do any type of teaching available that put him in front of students.
That attitude paid off in 2011 when he was offered a full time faculty position at GSU.
“I have never looked back and have no regrets!” Murray said.
He loves being a double-degreed RT (he has a BSRT too) and says his foray into the educational side has taught him new skills and opened the door to speaking engagements at local, state, and national events.
He’s had the chance to work with textbook publishers as well, providing feedback he believes will help improve the future education of respiratory therapy students.
And perhaps most significantly, he has spearheaded an effort to move all of the MSRT courses at GSU online to help other RTs earn a master’s in their chosen profession too.
On to the Ed.D.
Murray is continuing to further his own education as well.
“Completion of my MSRT degree gave me the confidence to pursue my doctorate in education at the University of Georgia,” Murray said. “Go Dawgs!”