Why I’m Going to AARC Congress 2018

AARC Congress 2018 kicks off Dec. 4 in Las Vegas, and people are lining up to register right now. Why do so many RTs come to this annual meeting in respiratory care?

Go To Congress 2018

Just as there is no one typical respiratory therapist, there is no one typical reason for attending. Here’s what a few therapists who have already registered say about why they are going this year.

A real career booster

“I am confident that attending the conference will help boost my career in respiratory care and as a RT educator,” said Tamara Douglass-Burton, EdD, MS, RRT, RPSGT, a clinical associate professor at Towson University in Towson, MD. “There are always a wide variety of lectures, seminars, and activities that inform attendees about the changes, advancements, and new topics in the field — many of which can be applied to my professional and academic agenda.”

This year she plans to walk away with information about new medications and treatments, as well as updates on sleep medicine.

“These areas are important in academia and will help enhance the knowledge that I can present to the students,” Dr. Douglass-Burton said.

For Kim Bennion, MsHS, RRT, CHC, administrative director of respiratory care services at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, UT, the meeting offers a chance to learn more about the ideas and tools leaders such as herself need to take back to their states and their organizations and be change agents.

“I’m looking for initiatives that put us ahead of the curve,” she said. “Anticipating what we need to do to move the profession forward, improve patient-centered, medically necessary care, and ideas for health care policy initiative opportunities are what I’m looking for.”

She also believes Congress gives her a chance to network with colleagues, gain ideas, and learn about strategies that are working for others.

“We stand stronger together when we share,” Bennion said.

As an RT researcher, Arzu Ari, PhD, RRT, FAARC, says Congress is essential to her career, both for the knowledge she can gain there and the opportunity it gives her to present her own work.

“One of the reasons for my interest, is that AARC always has key leaders in the nation and around the world in attendance and/or presenting,” she said. “Another great thing about attending the AARC conference is that I can share my research on aerosol drug delivery and get constructive feedback from other experts in aerosol research.”

Dr. Ari — who is receiving this year’s Mitchell A. Baran Achievement Award for Clinical Excellence in Aerosol and Airway Clearance Therapies at the Awards Ceremony that kicks off the Congress — credits the AARC with helping her to establish herself as an aerosol researcher and as a “passionate professor in my field.”

Great camaraderie 

Laura Reindl, BS, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, will be back at the Congress this year after missing several years in a row and says she’s looking forward to her return for a couple of reasons. First, she’s recently gotten involved in research and is presenting her first poster presentation in the Open Forum. Second, she plans to use the opportunity to catch up with old friends and colleagues.

“I have been a therapist for 30 years,” said Reindl, who serves as a supervisor of respiratory care services at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, WI. “I continue to learn and grow, and I enjoy the camaraderie. The lectures are always inspirational as well.”

Gaining insights that will help inform her role as a COPD/smoking cessation specialist is driving Sandy Ollivier, RRT, COPD coordinator at Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno, NV, to attend.

“Currently my team is looking to approach all inhaled products in our cessation classes and to create a program to target junior high and high school students — grade school too,” Ollivier said.

She is also coming in a day early to participate in the AARC’s Respiratory Patient Advocacy Summit.

“I know it’s not ‘the Congress’ but I consider it a priority because I’ve taken away a new sense of value for the role I play as COPD coordinator every time I’ve attended,” Ollivier said. “I know I will not be disappointed.”

Peter Juarez, BS, RRT, RRT-NPS, says he’ll be in Las Vegas for the networking and the CEUs, and he also hopes to locate some specific equipment to put to work in his role as a respiratory care transport coordinator at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Seattle, WA.

“I am looking for some unique adapters, possible innovations on delivering care,” Juarez said.

He also says he gets a boost from speaking with and listening to the many colleagues he always gets the chance to meet at Congress, noting it gives him a “sense of worth being part of a group of professionals whose job is focused on care and innovating ideas.”

Great RTs to learn from

Networking is important to Bradley Boynton, RRT, clinical specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, as well, and since he recently started working in his hospital’s ALS Clinic, he is hoping he’ll specifically get the chance to talk with RTs who are already working in this role. He plans to attend some of the lectures that pertain to ALS too.

“There are so many great RTs to learn from!” Boynton said.

For Denise Lauderbaugh, BSRT, RRT, RRT-NPS, attending Congress is a must.

“As a hospital educator, it is essential for me to stay relevant with current practice,” said Lauderbaugh, who works at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego, CA.

This year she’ll be presenting outcomes from an evidence-based practice project and is bringing two of her mentees along with her, so they can learn the value of the Congress as well.

“I enjoy going to the Congress because it lets me be the ‘student’ for a couple of days rather than the ‘teacher,’ which is my usual role,” she said. “Attendance advances my knowledge in current best practice.”

“My favorite sessions are the poster presentations and the exhibit hall,” said Terry Forrette, MHS, RRT, FAARC, an educator at LSU Health Science Center in Louisiana. “The poster sessions keep me up to date on the latest research and also give me ideas for my own studies. Seeing new technologies and talking with the manufactures in the exhibit hall is always fun.”

The long-time AARC member and Congress attendee says seeing old friends is a great perk as well.

Perfect place for all

Amber Corbell is on the opposite end of the spectrum. As someone who is new to respiratory care, she hopes to use her Congress attendance to look for opportunities for growth and direction to advance her career.

“What I hope to get out of the event is an opportunity to network, the ability to receive CEUs, and to gain a better understanding of what the event itself consists of,” said the newly minted RT from Chula Vista, CA. “I am very excited to be a first-time attendee.”

AARC Congress will be the perfect place for her to do just that — just as it has been the perfect place for respiratory therapists to learn the latest and grow their careers for the past 63 years.

Learn more about AARC Congress 2018 and register today!