A quick glance at your accomplishments!

Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Why you should take the time to update your portfolio?

The new year has begun, and hopefully, you are excited about it!  Documenting your achievements, awards and projects as you go along seems great but not always a convenient step.   Here is your chance to take a step back and document them. 

So why do this? 

We get busy and forget to document our achievements throughout the year. It will help you save time when it comes to updating your resume, filling out your annual employment review, realizing your areas of strength, and help with your goal setting and career planning.

Stepping back and looking at your achievements with a quick glance can help you practice gratitude and build confidence.

It is also a good reminder for certification deadlines and professional organization renewal dates. 

Where you can document your progress

At the end or beginning of the year, set aside time to update your portfolio.  By portfolio, I refer to whatever system you have in place to organize your resume, professional documents, and continuing education files.  Once you establish a system, updating it should become much easier, more rewarding and less frustrating. 

Personally, I use a cloud system that is free and easily accessible from any electronic system that can connect to the internet.  I personally use Google Documents because it works for me.

I already have existing folders and documents which help me track my continuing education activities.   Creating a new document or adding to the bottom of your year-end page, you can update your accomplishments.

Questions to help you track your accomplishments

To simplify things here, think about these three areas:  Projects, courses or certificates, and skillsets.

What were some projects that you were part of (employment or volunteering)?

Which courses or certificates have you completed or renewed?

What new skills you have learned or strengthened?  

(Optional: Publications, Test Scores, Awards, Languages, Patents and other relevant categories)

Start Now!

Access your existing paper portfolio or your secure and accessible cloud/online folder.  Answer the three questions mentioned in the previous section.   

Bonus: Think about your upcoming year personal or career goals to see if your accomplishments support your goals.  What are some activities that support you in your path?  The answer to these questions can help you set goals for your upcoming year!  

Tell me about your process?  What has helped you?  Also, what are some of your memorable accomplishments over the past 12 months?  What are you looking forward to accomplishing?

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PALS

Last weekend, October 14th and 15th, I took part in the Pediatrics Advance Life Support (PALS) course.  This is a challenging and satisfying certificate which I look forward to every few years. Completion of PALS involves review and demonstration of various knowledge and skills as both a team member and as the lead.  There are many areas of individual growth in this certificate as health care providers (HCP) deal with a wide age range of patients, from neonatal to young adolescent.  Also, the topics covered include, but are not limited to, Systematic Assessments, Respiratory Distress and Failure, Bradycardia, Tachycardia, Cardiac Arrest, Shock (Hypovolemic/Distributive/Cardiogenic/Obstructive), and Post-Resuscitation Care.  Since many health concerns of children include respiratory components, PALS offers Respiratory Therapists a good chance to review their knowledge and skill-set.

Aside from the knowledge and hands on opportunities, there is a chance to work within inter-professional teams.  PALS helps HCP’s see scenarios from different angles and roles.  By better understanding the roles, team members can more effectively understand, anticipate and participate in the flow of patient care.

Reviewing the systematic approach in PALS is a mindset that can also be applied in adult populations and during Rapid Response Team assessments and interventions.  As a new graduate, one of my biggest challenges was attending to Rapid Response Calls.  The on-call Nurse and RT would reach the bed side first and would begin the quick assessment and at times, when appropriate, would initiate the required intervention even before the attending doctor would get there.  This certificate allowed me to better identify, organize and classify the available information, better narrow down the plausible causes, and provide better interventional care.

When compared to ACLS and NRP, PALS is usually not a required certificate in job postings, thus new graduates can better stand out when equipped with this qualification.  Even for RTs who have a few years of experience, completing this certificate can demonstrate a willingness and drive to learn and to improve.

This certificate is a useful asset and thus it is my personal recommendation to RTs and other HCPs to take their PALS.

 

Farzad Raffi Refahi
Oct 18, 2017
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Presenting At CSRT

In 2016, I gave a talk at the annual Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists, CSRT, Conference.   At that time I was working six days a week, running a blog, and was trying my best to prepare for the presentation.  I was excited, nervous and driven.  My presentation was far from perfect, however, I learned a lot in the process and from the self-reflection after it was completed.

Here are my top three pieces of advice for first time presenters at CSRT:

  1. Quality.
    Know more about the topic than most people in the room. Do your research but don’t invest all your time on the research component.  There will always be individuals who would know more about the topic than you would, however gather enough information so your talk would be beneficial to most people in the room.  Presenting at CSRT requires quality and professionalism.  Do your research, deliver the quality, but don’t spend the whole time sharing your research.
  2. Keep It Simple.
    Collect all the relevant information, process it and present it in few key points.  A 45 minutes long talk is a short time to discuss all your findings.  It is best to summarize or select only 3 to 5 key ideas/points, and then focus on the delivery of those points.  Keep it simple.  Present the key points without relying too much on technology.  There seems to be always some technical issue during talks (happened during mine).
  3. Practice… Practice… Practice.
    Get to know your material. I would encourage practicing enough to memorize. Practice in front of friends and individuals in the field.   Use the feedback from the practice runs and modify your presentation until it is smooth and simple while delivering the main ideas.  I videotaped my practice runs so I would identify areas that required more attention.  Don’t be afraid to connect with your audience. Get to the room that your will be presenting early or during breaks. Stand where you will be presenting, look around and get to know the room.  During your presentation don’t forget to breathe.

  Here is the link to CSRT’s  Call For Presenter’s page: 

http://conference.csrt.com/call-for-presenters

Good luck!

Farzad ‘Raffi’ Refahi HBSc RRT CRE

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