At Electromed, each member of our team works diligently to help individuals, like you, find support and compassion, as you take the first step in your SmartVest journey.
Beginning a new treatment plan is both exciting and overwhelming. You’re likely ready to start enjoying relief from chronic cough, respiratory infections, and fatigue, but may have questions or concerns starting a new therapy, such as:
- How does my respiratory vest work?
- How long do I need to perform therapy sessions each day?
- How do I maintain my SmartVest, so it continues to work at its optimal level?
- Who do I call if I need to troubleshoot an issue?
From your dedicated patient care team member to an experienced respiratory therapist, each department at Electromed works closely to ensure you feel confident about using your airway clearance therapy to manage your symptoms.
First impressions are important to us, which is why we’re introducing a new series, Meet Your Electromed Team. We want to give you the opportunity to learn more about the incredible people who make up our team and are committed to helping you find the support you need to live well with your pulmonary condition.
Get to Know an Electromed Patient Trainer
Steve Schickman is a registered respiratory therapist (RRT) and one of Electromed’s patient trainers. Before you receive your vest, a patient trainer will give you a call to schedule a training session, so you can learn all about how SmartVest works, get set up in your home, and start enjoying the benefits of airway clearance the moment it arrives at your door.
With more than 40 years of experience, Steve is a dedicated and knowledgeable trainer. To help you get to know Steve a little better, we asked him a few questions about how he strives to be an advocate to patients.
Q: Why did you decide to work with Electromed?
Steve: When I first learned about SmartVest and experienced first-hand how the device functions to help clear the airways, I was drawn to its simplicity. Most people are cautious, or sometimes even skeptical, about beginning a new therapy. So, when I get to work with them, one-on-one, and demonstrate how the vest works, it’s exciting to see their immediate transformation. They start to laugh and begin to relax, once they realize how easy it is to use and that they can do this all on their own.
For me, the feeling I get from that experience never gets old.
Q: What responsibilities do you have as a SmartVest trainer?
Steve: Typical training can last about an hour to an hour and a half. After going through a therapy session (which takes around 15-30 minutes) I have my patients turn off the generator and take off their vest. I then ask them to start a new session completely by themselves to ensure they understand the process and feel confident to do it independently. If they can’t remember or make little errors while I’m there, it’s actually helpful because they can ask me questions, and we can try again together.
“Whether we need to practice only twice or more than five times, they know I won’t leave them until it becomes second nature.”
Q: What do you like most about being a patient trainer?
Steve: My responsibilities as an RRT and trainer have given me the opportunity to meet some inspiring patients who have lived with their chronic symptoms for far too long. Knowing that I can show them how this life-changing device works and see the tension quickly release on their faces—once they get familiar with the vest and realize how light and comfortable it is—reminds me why I love what I do.
I enjoy the everyday challenges, as well. Sometimes, I’ll get a request for an urgent training session due to a patient being discharged from the hospital or a doctor’s office. It’s my goal to be there for them the moment their SmartVest arrives, so they never feel alone or confused.
Q: What’s your favorite memory of working as a trainer for the SmartVest system?
Steve: Once I was assigned a pediatric patient, and I could tell his mom was definitely feeling stressed about the situation. I quickly found out she had no idea what SmartVest was or how it worked. In addition, she really wanted to know if I could perform the training before the weekend, as her son’s discharge was contingent on getting the SmartVest set up. I reassured her that we could do the training whichever day worked best for her and her son, even on the weekend. This definitely surprised her, and she expressed her gratitude repeatedly.
After her son received SmartVest training, she reached out to thank me again. And, to my delight, she informed me that her son was loving the treatment and even started laughing during each session. I know that SmartVest helped change both of their lives, and it was exciting to be a part of that experience.
It’s a Team Effort
“Steve is one of our most dedicated and knowledgeable trainers,” said Amy, a Patient Training Coordinator at Electromed. “I know that when I ask Steve to take a training assignment, he will say “yes” and all the steps to the process will be acted upon immediately. The goal of the training department is to ensure the patient is comfortable with the use and function of the vest.”
Patient Trainers are located across the United States. Once a SmartVest is shipped, a trainer will contact the patient within 24 hours to set up a training session.
Is HFCWO Therapy Right for You?
Get to know more Electromed team members by checking back for new Q&A blog posts, and check out our company video.
We encourage you to visit our website to explore our patient resources, clinical research, and “Ask a Pulmonologist” video series. To learn more about HFCWO (high frequency chest wall oscillation) therapy via the SmartVest, request a patient packet today!