Teresa A. Volsko, MBA, MHHS, RRT, CMTE, FAARC, is the newest member of the American Respiratory Care Foundation (ARCF) Board of Trustees.
Volsko has been a respiratory therapist for 37 years. She holds undergraduate degrees in respiratory therapy technology as well as in applied science in healthcare management. She also holds graduate degrees in business administration and health and human services with a concentration on healthcare administration.
Currently Volsko is the director of respiratory care and transport at the Communication Center and she is the interim administrative director of operations of the Rebecca D. Considine Research Institute. She also serves as a trustee for the NBRC, and a board member for Lambda Beta Society. And finally, she is a member of the RESPIRATORY CARE Journal editorial board as well as the Evidence Based Clinical Practice Guidelines Committee for the AARC.
Connected to respiratory care
“I was interested in the profession since I was in high school,” Volsko said. “As I was exploring career options, I met respiratory care students, toured hospitals and fell in love with the profession.”
Volsko has served in a variety of roles throughout her career and the one constant for each has been her “insatiable curiosity,” which drives her to continue learning and finding ways to strengthen the profession.
“I was blessed with the opportunity to have many mentors who helped me develop the knowledge and skills to determine how new and emerging therapies and developing technology worked and how the new innovations can be used to improve patient, process and financial outcomes,” Volsko said. “My connection with respiratory care offered me an opportunity to learn, stretch out of my comfort zone, and influence positive changes at the bedside. It also provided me with the chance to ‘pay it forward’ by mentoring others and serving the profession and my community.”
What do you believe are the most important goals for the Foundation to accomplish over the next few years and why?
Healthcare is a very complex and dynamic environment. The adage “what got you here won’t get you there” truly applies. Evidence-based, outcome focused care that is cost effective requires changes in practice and behaviors. Pulmonary disease is at the center of this issue and the respiratory therapist a critical player. Expanding the role of the respiratory therapist will require advanced training and education, along with evidenced-based research. Promoting and helping to fund these activities through awards, scholarships and grants is more important now than ever.
Taking on a new role
“The ACRF, through its mission, is dedicated to supporting research, education, and patient-focused philanthropic activities,” Volsko said.
For Volsko, the activities, scholarships and grants that the ACRF supports “enable respiratory therapists to develop professionally, educate patients and families about pulmonary diseases, and create innovative solutions to the care for those affected with pulmonary diseases through research and discovery.”
“As a respiratory therapist for more than three decades, I led initiatives which aligned with the mission and vision of the ARCF on a local level,” Volsko said. “It is my hope that as a trustee I can direct my energy and talents in a way which will serve the profession and respiratory care community on a much broader level.”
“The goals of the Foundation support the major tenets of medical practice: to teach, to heal and to discover,” Volsko said.
She added that the ACRF provides the structure necessary to support changes in practice by funding advanced educational opportunities, research endeavors, and health care innovation through scholarships, grants and journal conferences.
“This support provides respiratory therapists with the resources needed to discover efficient ways to deliver quality care in an ever-changing health care environment, promote wellness and improve outcomes for the patients and families we are privileged to serve,” Volsko said.
It takes a village
“The ARCF has an outstanding team, who, in concert with the support of its donors and sponsors, provides the leadership and funding to fulfil its mission,” Volsko said. “When I think about the work the Foundation does, I am reminded of an old adage ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ We can reframe that old adage to apply to the work the Foundation does: ‘it takes a village to provide quality health care along the continuum.’”
According to Volsko, the Foundation is an important part of that village.
“The Foundation provides respiratory care professionals with the support needed to leave an indelible professional mark by advancing the art and science of respiratory care,” Volsko said.
The mission of the ARCF is rooted in the goal and desire to better the lives and care of patients everywhere. Your contributions to the ARCF help make this goal possible.