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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Are lazy, uninspired RTs the cause of lack of respect among the profession?

There is a group of individuals who claim that the reason there is a lack of respect for this profession is because physicians see too many of us sitting around being lazy.  This was an idea noted by one of our co-workers:
I think it is because too often doctors and others witness the lazy and uninspired RTs and I think we are all like that.  If you want respect from others in health care, you have to first demand respect from your own colleagues and hold your colleagues to a higher standard.  From my experience, a credential or degree, does not necessarily make an excellent RRT.
The thread I'm referring to occurred over at the National Alliance of Respiratory Therapist's Facebook page.  Of course you know I agree with that last sentence, but the rest of that paragraph is pure poppycock in my humble opinion (and I say that with all due respect.)  My response was as follows:
You see many physicians who are lazy, and we still have respect for them... if they do the job right, I mean. 
So this inspired me to create my own thread at Respiratory Therapy Cave Facebook page.  I wrote:
There's a lot of talk about making RT a 4-6 year program.  They say this will generate better respect for the profession.  At present, physicians have a hard time believing someone with an associate's degree could possibly know more than them about something.  To me, this seems ridiculous.  It seems it would make more sense for physicians to accept the fact that we RTs ARE well educated and knowledgeable.  This would make more sense, as compared to forcing students (interested in respiratory therapy) to go to school longer, spending twice as much money, to learn what we already know, in the hope that they will like the job in the end (and Lord knows there's no guarantee of that).  If RT was a 4-8 year program, I know I would not be one, and many of you would have chosen another field also.  It would make more sense for physicians to accept us as we are, rather than force us to become what is not necessary and costly (costly in more ways than one).  The NBRC, AARC, and RT Schools have done a phenomenal job of educating us, it's high time the rest of the community recognize this.
Then I started another thread:
I'm tired of people complaining about lazy RTs being the reason for the lack of respect for our profession.  There are lazy RTs and lazy doctors and lazy nurses as well, and there's no talk of lack of respect there.  Yes, there are lazy RTs, but much of this is probably due to RT apathy CAUSED by lack of respect for RTs.  In other words, much of the "laziness" is the effect, not the cause.  The reason there is lack of respect for RTs is because doctors (many anyway) simply cannot fathom the idea that someone with only an associate's degree could possibly know more than they do about respiratory therapy. 
So, more important, what are your thoughts?


steve respiratory said...

Did you ever consider that what we do can be done by simple robotics and software. Monitored by a quality assurance tech to ensure the system is working properly. With budgets getting tighter and technology advancing GE will replace our entire field of "practice". Bio-Chem tech will replace the need for therapies all together. What are we going to do then? I am a therapist and agree with the term RT's in general are lazy and not really interested. Most of them push buttons like they are told to or think they know what they are talking about based on what they've seen not so much with a deep understanding of physiology, chemistry, and biology.

Rick Frea said...

Your comments about RTs in general being lazy, button pushers, and not having a deep understanding, are all generalization, and therefore not true. The same could be said of the most well educated physicians, biologists or chemists.