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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The debate: Are RTs professionals or Ancillary

My boss referred to us RTs as ancillary staff in a recent meeting. I personally have argued against this term for RTs, claiming that we are professionals. Yet the debate continues.

How about if we define these terms before we go on:

Ancillary staff: These are workers who are told what to do, and do them as instructed without asking questions.

Professional staff: These are professionals who are involved in the care of the patient and are a part of the team that "thinks" of solutions to acute and/or chronic problems the patient is confronted with.

By these definitions, the following are ancillary services:

  1. doing abgs
  2. doing breathing treatments
  3. being a treatment jockey
  4. performing ekgs
  5. doing cpt
  6. assisting with a boost

By these definitions, the following are professional services:

  1. interpreting abgs
  2. understanding what decisions to make based on your interpretation of it
  3. educating a patient
  4. questioning a physician order
  5. knowing what to do as a patient is failing
  6. delving into the patient's history to solve an acute problem
  7. recommending new therapies to the attending physician
  8. researching and coming up with new ideas to help the patient
  9. researching and coming up with new ideas to help the RT department or hospital

So, I think the RTs of old may have been ancillary, and I can think of a few who exists in the RT Cave today who would qualify as ancillary RTs. Yet I am convinced most of us work alongside the patient with RNs and doctors for the benefit of the patient, and are thus professionals.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

It is my humble opinion that the "ancillray" title (a.k.a. Allied Health) is, in part, some of the reason there is such a pay differential btw nurses and RT's. When the RT's and their OWN bosses look at themselevs as ANYTHING less than Professionals - no one else is going to look at RT's as professionals either.....thusly you get the Ancillary Pay.......

Anonymous said...

I lean towards the "professional" status of RT's. You hold a professional license according to the state correct? I know a CNA is considered a professional so why not RT's?

Anonymous said...

The ancillary title just ticks me off. I'm a professional, my schooling in most cases was just as long as a RN's. To me ancillary are people who help us do our job taking care of petients. If your job involves patient assesment and treating you are not ancillary. Those in our field who still think we are, need to wise up.

Anonymous said...

I certainly believe, from my own experience, that if you don't have Attendings, Managers and Supervisors working for your "profession" and furthering your professional involvement in patient care then you, by default, are thrown into the category of Ancillary staff. I work at a large teaching hospital, and it seems like half the time I'm questioning doctor's orders and being told what to do rather than being included in the process of creating a plan of care for the patients. It is certainly not what I expected after graduating respiratory school. When you lack progressive leadership, it ends up damaging your credibility and reputation as a department. gunterRrt

Rick Frea said...

Grunter RT, your comment might just make my wit and wisdom section. Brilliantly said.