Adult Acute Care Section Chair
Lehigh Valley Health Network
Member Since: 1975
Elections Committee Questions:
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing the AARC and what do you recommend to address it?
To enhance member engagement in the AARC. Ensure that the information disseminated is salient, timely, and meaningful to its members. An example would be the visionary mission of the AARC and its five-year plan for the association and profession. Currently, the greatest challenge is to recruit more individuals into the respiratory care profession. Institutions are struggling to maintain adequate staffing and provide optimal patient care. The AARC has to examine novel options to enhance professional avenues to become an RRT. For example, could there be a fast-track educational opportunity, the utilization of respiratory therapy assistants, and a structural on-the-job training curriculum? If a process is not generated to encourage more individuals to become respiratory therapists, other disciplines will start moving in and performing our gold-standard responsibilities. This will cause a downward spiral that may be irreversible.
What ideas do you have to help todays Respiratory Therapist recover from the pandemic and what do you feel is the main issue Respiratory Care Practitioners are facing, and what key solutions should be addressed to support our profession?
The past two years have been the most exhausting, emotional, and engaging time for the respiratory care practitioner. The pandemic has challenged our profession in ways that one could never have imagined. Currently, many practitioners are experiencing post-trauma distress syndrome, including myself. Adding some positively to this subject, our profession stepped up and brilliantly shined. Never did society become more aware of the role and impact of the respiratory care practitioner as in the pandemic. The AARC has two major responsibilities: First, the respiratory therapy practitioner needs to be recognized for their hard work during the pandemic and needs to be placed on a pedestal and glorified. Secondly, mental and emotional support must be provided and easily obtained. I would also add, to keep the respiratory care practitioner in the limelight and foster a newsworthy image that is captured and embraced by all of society.
Value of this section is important. If given the opportunity to represent, what would you do to increase the value to this section and how would you increase section membership?
If given the opportunity to represent the critical care section, I would foster an educational avenue that would be inclusive to all critical care therapists regardless of experience and hospital demographics. It is critical that we are inclusive in our section and not primarily gravitate to the high-hanging fruit issues. The importance of performing a daily ventilator assessment versus doing a venting check is as salient in a major medical center as in a rural, small institution. Drawing in all levels of critical care practitioners would be one of my major emphases. Discuss issues that are germane and basic to providing great bedside care and how to optimize patient outcomes need to be at the forefront of any discussions. Case studies, different patient etiologies, and open discussions would foster this learning concept. I have been a critical care RRT for 47 years and every day I learn something new and exciting!