Where Can a Master’s Degree Take You?

Master’s Degree

It’s no secret a master’s degree holds high value for RTs seeking to enter the educational arena or manage RT departments in large hospitals. But where else can one of these degrees take you?

A while back we asked AARC members to tell us about their master’s degrees and how they’ve impacted their careers. Here are three great examples of how a master’s opens up new doors for RTs.

Clinical value optimization facilitator

Abigail Tate, MBA, RRT, earned her master’s degree about a year ago and has since gotten her black belt in Lean/Six Sigma too.

“I was always drawn to the business world, and after several years working as a floor therapist, I decided I wanted to be in charge,” Tate said.

A bachelor’s in health administration landed her a job as manager of cardiology and respiratory at her hospital, and mentoring by the facility’s CNO led her to seek out Lean/Six Sigma training. She began pursuing her MBA almost immediately as well, and last fall that translated to a position as a clinical value optimization facilitator for the Southern Colorado Group of Centura Health.

“I now manage process improvement projects for two hospitals,” Tate said. “My objective every single day is to make it easy for our associates to do the right thing for our patients.”

Service line/quality manager

Kim Bennion, MsHS, BSRT, RRT, CHC, embarked on her master’s degree in 2009 when she was working as a senior clinical compliance consultant.

“It seemed we still focused on reactive medicine, but I could see national health care moving toward population health,” she said. “Specifically, Pay 4 Performance, LeapFrog, and other initiatives were being utilized in an attempt to measure the quality of care.”

She felt having a master’s would put her ahead of the curve, and it has.

“I use what I learned every day in my current position,” said Bennion, who now serves as the corporate respiratory care clinical service line program and quality manager at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, UT.

As such, she has oversight over 23 acute care hospitals within the integrated health care system and is responsible for coordinating a team charged with identifying and implementing best practice standards and conducting clinical research.

“Without this degree, I would not have the job I currently have,” Bennion said.

Regional manager

Scott Dabbene, MBA, RRT, was the assistant director of respiratory care at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, NY, back in 2002 when he decided to embark on his MBA.

“I saw that hospitals were being run more like a business than ever before,” he said. “I wanted to be prepared in case a position opened which I wanted. I didn’t want to not get the job because of my education.”

Getting the MBA gave him the confidence he needed to look outside the box and seek out a position in the industry.

“As a result, I saw an opportunity to leave the hospital and join Maquet-inc, now Getinge,” Dabbene said. “I am the regional manager of the Critical Care Division in the Northeast.”

Moving on up

Lesson learned from these stories? With the right education, there is no limit to what respiratory therapists can accomplish in the larger world of health care.