By Tom Lescarbeau, Interim Dean of Health and Sciences, Lone Star College – Tomball

This journey may sound familiar to some, but each time I reflect upon it, I am amazed at the number of twists and turns. Barely old enough to buy scratch-off tickets, I learned to work alongside some of the most dedicated and passionate people on Earth as a surgical technologist. I didn’t really understand the magnitude of actually saving lives at that point. Naiveté was a blessing, I guess. My first full-time job was working at a rural hospital in Bennington, Vermont, making $7.50 an hour. The facility didn’t even have a job description for me. It astounds me to think about how far the profession has come since then.

Furthering my education did so much more for me than just developing the skills required to deliver safe patient care as a member of the surgical team. The critical thinking skills needed each and every day to work in the OR are not common. Then there’s the high degree of accountability and collaboration required for each case. It inspired me to look for opportunities to grow and give back to the profession. Serving as a state assembly officer helped with learning how to conduct meetings, apply Robert’s Rules, basic accounting, marketing, event planning, writing reports and even fundraising. To see five years of grassroots efforts in the legislative process was rewarding. These characteristics are pillars of what is needed to be an effective leader.

Transitioning from practitioner to educator was difficult. I can scrub a case and help remove a brain tumor, but understanding the intricacies of education was difficult. What are multiple intelligences? What are andragogy and pedagogy? How do you assess a skill and teach competency? How do you write a less