Career Advice for Graduates

 Published: March 20, 2019

By: Heather Willden


image of graduate looking forward

When one journey ends, the next begins. As respiratory therapy graduates embark on their next journey, we asked recent grad Caroline Sivcovich, RRT, to offer career advice.

From student to professional

photo of carline sivcovich
Caroline Sivcovich, RRT, shares her care career advice for new graduates moving into their professional career.

“The most rewarding part of transitioning from student to professional is actively participating in patient care and medical team discussions to improve patient outcome,” Sivcovich said.

She recognizes the responsibility associated with working with patients. The decisions she makes with the medical team directly affect patients.

“I take pride in the care I provide when physicians agree or support my suggestions and that my decisions helped contribute to the improvement or discharge of a patient,” Sivcovich said.

Work-life balance

“The toughest part of the student to professional transition was and continues to be maintaining productivity and socialization outside of work,” Sivcovich said.

For Sivcovich, being in school kept her days full and busy.

“In school, the entire week was busy – class, classmates, studying, clinical rotations, and more,” she said. “As a young and current graduate, working only three days a week when most people work five days, or working nights and sleeping when everyone else is awake led to some loneliness and a lot of idle time. To combat those, I have found new hobbies and I encourage myself daily to get out of the house or reach out to family and friends. I also plan to go back to school and further my education.”

Caroline’s career tips

  • Don’t stop learning! To keep your clinical skills and knowledge up to date, take advantage of all the opportunities your workplace has to offer, whether it’s learning new, complex equipment or refreshing a simple skill you haven’t done in a while.
  • Additionally, further your education. Many jobs offer tuition reimbursement or discounted rates with local universities. I was fortunate to have completed my bachelor’s degree before starting my career and I’m now looking into masters programs with support from my employer.
  • Help encourage and facilitate change! A new and current graduate is a set of fresh eyes and can often bring new ideas and positive change to a company or department.
  • Committees and teams are a great way to learn more about topics, join the conversation about how to better those topics, and collaborate with other professionals to implement and support those changes.

Email with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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