Sometimes I wonder if we're respiratory therapists or respiratory jockeys.
Allow for some definitions:
Respiratory Therapist: Provides therapy, educates, and offers expert opinions to doctors and nurses. Education, experience and thought are needed to benefit the patient.
Respiratory Jockey: Therapists who just do a task and ask no questions. They are essentially button pushers. Not much thought is needed.
Thankfully, most nurses and doctors treat us as therapists. Still, there are days when it feels we are just jockeys. Allow me to provide a simple example. I was called to the room to give a breathing treatment. Upon my assessment the patient had crackles in the bases, his spo2 was 90% on 4lpm and after interviewing the nurse learned the patient had aspirated.
Based on my assessment, I recommended no bronchodilator. Yet I recommended the nurse call the doctor because I was concerned the patient might be wet.
Thirty minutes later I was called because the doctor ordered a bronchodilator. In this case, both the nurse and doctor completely disregarded my expert opinion. My opinion was based on science and a good assessment, and their opinion was based on feelings: it feels good to treat a low spo2 with Albuterol.
In this example I was treated not as a respiratory "therapist" but as a respiratory jockey. My opinion mattered not. I was told to do the treatment and whether or believed it wasn't needed mattered not.