Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Respiratory Therapist - What I Expect

Today I had the opportunity to sit in on an advisory board meeting for the respiratory care practice of Carrington college. The basic goal of this meeting was to make sure that the students Carrington college was putting into the field were as prepared as they could possibly be to perform their job at a high level. There were representatives from the college as well as various hospitals and medical institutions around the Phoenix area. I was invited to sit in as a “public member” and speak to those in attendance about my involvement in the CF community. There wasn't much at this meeting I could actually contribute to other than that, but it was still interesting to be a part of the process.

Being part of this meeting did get me thinking about my experience with respiratory therapists over the years. I then started to think about my answers to various questions that they would ask somebody like me (Believe me, I had to bite my tongue not to just speak out of turn at the meeting, but I wanted to make sure I'd be invited back). As a result of my daydreaming I figured I would share with you guys three of the basic things I expect out of respiratory therapists (RT).

Effort. I can say without a doubt that the number one thing I expect out of every single RT is effort. It literally makes my skin crawl when someone walks into my room and gives me a hand pound comparable to a corpse. Now, I admittedly take a very hard pound and not every one that comes into my room has the physical strength to comply, but I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the RT's who are very physically able to perform a good, strong hand pound, yet choose to give a piss poor effort. And if you don't have the physical strength, just come in giving it your best. It doesn't matter how much you weigh or how strong you are, everyone can give 100%.

Attitude. And more explicitly- a good, working attitude. I understand that you have other stuff going in your life besides work. I totally get that you and your husband may be having issues. I can sympathize with you that some of your work takes extreme physical labor. I know that some days you're just simply dog-tired. I know that for some of you this is "just a job". So how do I put this nicely? Ummmmmm, you're not a volunteer. Unlike me, you're actually getting paid to come into my room and perform a task. Unlike me, you're not forced to be there because you feel like crap. And unlike me, you're able to go home to your wife. I understand that you're human. I understand that you can't always “be on". But please understand that I tell you the truth when I say "I'd much rather not be here then you".

Don't stink. You wouldn't even think that RT's coming into my room smelling like an ashtray would be an issue, but believe it or not, it is. Just as I wouldn't go into someone's house smelling like alcohol who was suffering from cirrhosis of the liver, you shouldn't come into my room smelling like smoke. It's downright disrespectful. And yes, I would rather you come in smelling like body odor then smelling like you just took a shower in the latest fragrance by Britney Spears. What can I say, my lungs are sensitive (and even more so when I'm in need of a tune-up). So although I respect your right to smell how you want to smell, I respect my right to breathe even more.

So that's it, a short and sweet list of what I expect out of respiratory therapists. So what do you think guys? I'd love to get your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.