We RTs think alike. A great example of this just occurred to me.
I was minding my business taking care of a real COPD patient in ER, when I was paged by a nurse in recovery. I called her.
She said, "We have a patient down here who has sats in the mid 80s, and I can't get them up no matter what I do."
I said, "What device are you using?"
"A face tent."
"Well, that explains why--"
"Dr. Umabalabamalamala wants you to set up CPAP when the patient gets upstairs."
"Why does he want that."
"Because he thinks the patient isn't taking deep enough breaths."
"Umm, CPAP doesn't help patients take in deep breaths," I reassured her.
"Well, that's what he ordered."
So, as the patient rolled into her room I disconnected the face tent from the patient and plugged in a nasal cannula, set it at 5lpm, and connected it to the patient. The spo2 was initially 85%.
"See," the recovery RN said, "That's the sat we kept getting in recovery. No matter what we did it wouldn't go higher."
Just then the SpO2 jumped up to 94% and stayed there. "Are you breathing okay," I said to the patient.
The patient said, "I'm breathing fine. Do I have to wear that thing. I was on it last week and I hated it."
"I will call your doctor," I said. She smiled.
I got the CPAP changed to prn. I said to the pt. "You saved yourself from this machine because you're so healthy." Again, she smiled.
The moral of this story: Hospitals NEED RTs.
Now, ironically, just after this happened, I return here and check out My RT Life, where the Trauma Junkie wrote about what hospital life would be like without RTs. So, I am linking to his excellent post here.
Not only did the doctor have no clue what a CPAP machine does, neither did the nurses have the knowledge to question the order. And neither one of them had knowledge enough of oxygen therapy to maintain an SpO2 without invasive therapy.
Yes, America, we RTs are needed.
Click here to learn the basics about CPAP.