Aaron Light, DHSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS, is the program director at Ozarks Technical Community College. He recently took time to reflect on his career path and share how he found value in maintaining membership in the AARC.
The bigger picture
I began my career in respiratory therapy and the AARC membership expectation was started in my program by the faculty. Our student membership was required and I joined because I was expected/required to.
After graduation my membership lapsed and I wondered if I should continue my membership, as I did not see the point in spending the money. I continued practicing respiratory care at a local hospital and no one ever discussed the value of the AARC, nor encouraged me to renew. So, I didn’t.
However I changed jobs and the expectation was that I be a member, so I renewed and then had the opportunity to attend an AARC Congress. As I walked the halls of the Congress and I met some of the authors of journal articles I had read, books I owned and names that I had heard in clinical conversations, I quickly started to appreciate a larger view of our field.
Both the AARC and our profession were broader than my personal experiences at my local hospital and I didn’t appreciate that until I became more involved.
I have since held state officer positions, been a part of AARC sub committees and each one has given me a more in-depth knowledge of how our profession moves, changes, and assists the everyday respiratory therapist. Additionally, I have become a member of the Adult Critical Care Section and Education Section of the AARC and I have grown from discussions on their discussion boards.
In these discussion boards, I have had the opportunity to learn from wonderful clinicians and educators from across the country and I have learned how to express my thoughts and opinions in a more complete manner. The friendships I have made on the boards are invaluable to me as I have moved along in my career. The members on these boards have acted as mentors, friends, professional Sherpa’s, and intellectual competitors that have helped me grow beyond my perceived personal boundaries.
Aaron Light is the Program Director of the Ozarks Technical Community College Program in Springfield, MO and a Faculty member in Northeastern’s Masters of Respiratory Care Leadership Program.