Add to Your Balance
For the past several weeks, we have discussed work-life balance. The final entry to this discussion is what you can do within respiratory therapy to add to your balance. We all know we should be members of our professional group and the state society that is associated with it wherever we live. Though some feel these groups do not represent them, they are a good way to meet other professionals and get out of the hospital for events that can be educational, fun and a good way to keep in touch with those you meet along the way. The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) means different things to different people, but it is a network for all of us and can be used for whatever purpose needed.
I am a big fan of conferences, for instance. Though most of the AARC conferences offer me nothing I will ever use in practice, they are educational, interesting, often very well put on, and a chance to see old friends. They also are a relatively stress-free way of getting those all-important CEUs a little at a time, rather than scrounging around at the last minute. Other groups offer the same thing. The Association of Asthma Educators offers excellent conferences with topics that apply to those caring for asthmatic patients. Often, you can find good classes with your local American Heart Association or American Lung Association. Even in your own hospital, branch out a little. Don't just go to seminars that apply to respiratory care. Go to a nursing topic that interests you. You may not get CEU's, but you will learn about interesting topics and make an impression on nurses who attend as the therapist who is well rounded and loves to learn. Don't just go to the mandatory ACLS, PALS, and NALS classes; take an advanced ECG class or organize a class by one of your doctors on how he or she likes to conduct a bronchoscopy. This adds to your value, gives you something "out of the norm" to do and learn about, and gets you noticed by non-respiratory people within the hospital.
In my opinion, the future looks good for therapists who are well-rounded, happy in their careers and have proven value above pushing nebulizer treatments. Plan now to do some different things. They will help you achieve some work-life balance, improve your mood and value, and bring notice to you and our profession by those who may not otherwise understand how great you are.
That's just my opinion,
Jim Thacker, MHA, CRT, AE-C