Respiratory Therapists: The Challenges They Face

This week, October 21-October 27, 2018, is Respiratory Care Week. To celebrate, we asked our amazing respiratory therapists some questions to highlight them.

The challenges respiratory therapists may face in their work

What challenges do you face as part of your job?

John Bottrell, RRT

ImageSo, I meet lots of people when they are first diagnosed with COPD. Usually, these individuals are over the age of 40. This means they have daily routines that they have been used to for many years. And, now all of a sudden they're told they have COPD and have to make lifestyle changes. You know if they do this or do that they can slow the progression of this disease. Some people are quick to adjust. But, others pose more of a challenge. So, how do you convince them to take their disease seriously? How do you convince them to make necessary lifestyle changes? I think that's the biggest challenges we face as respiratory therapists.

Leon C. Lebowitz, RRT

ImageAs the director of a respiratory therapy department in a major metropolitan inner city medical center, the challenges are many. One is the recruitment and retention of qualified staff. This is done through a system of advertising, long-standing relationships with local schools, reputation, and providing the best workplace atmosphere and esprit de corps that we are capable of.
Another is providing the highest quality care with limited resources. We can accomplish this by being financially responsible, focusing on detail, and maintaining equipment according to manufacturer’s standards. In addition, staff therapists are expertly trained, credentialed, licensed, and 100% proficient and competent within their broad scope of practice. Therapists provide expert and efficient care to every patient that they are responsible for. Teamwork and collegiality enhance their delivered care and it does not go unnoticed by their peers or the organization.

Lyn Harper, MPA, BSRT, RRT

ImageMost of us went into healthcare to “fix people”. The challenge is actually accomplishing that. We can only do so much for a person and then they have to be determined to help themselves. They have to take their medications, quit smoking, exercise, eat well, and follow up with their doctor. But, they may encounter obstacles in trying to do all that. Perhaps they don’t drive, or they can’t afford their medication, or they have no access to good food – these are all challenges we confront when trying to do our job. It means we have to treat the whole person, not just their present condition.

Theresa Cannizzaro, RRT

ImageThe career doesn't come without its challenges and being a severe asthmatic (with COPD overlap) myself, I do have to be sure to keep my lungs in check and be aware at all times for any possible things that can send me into a flare up. Thankfully my employer is extremely accommodating and always on the lookout for me.

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