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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Do not let emotion change RT profession for worse

Emotional people disregard the facts and blame Junior Seau's suicide on NFL
You've been hearing for the last two years that football causes Alzheimer's
causes headaches, short-term, average term, long-term memory loss.  Football
causes dimentia.  There has never been any evidence to prove this...
but it doesn't matter, because emotion has set in, and the court of public
opinion has spoken.  Regardless of facts, the NFL is guilty as sin.
This has also resulted in the NFL taking the fun out of the game.
Some day, because of this emotion, we may be forced to watch
NFL flag football.    
Once emotion sets in facts don't matter.  You have Junior Seau committing suicide (and it's terrible what happened to him), and because he played for the NFL the media claims it's because he was hit in the head too much.  There is no proof of any of this, but because emotion set it, the facts don't matter.

There was another story where there was this guy who never played in the NFL, and he believed eating blueberries were good for you because he believed they had antioxidents.  He believed they purified the blood by getting the oxidents out.  After he told his buddies this, trying to encourage them to do the same, he committed suicide two weeks later.  Since he didn't play in the NFL, the media couldn't blame it on being hit to many times.  If he did, you know that type of emotion would have supplanted any facts. Yet emotion still set in, as the media blamed the blueberries instead of considering the facts.

The NFL is now being forced to pay $765 million to 4500 retired NFL players because the NFL didn't protect their heads from serious injury.  Sure some of these former NFL players have dementia, Alzheimers, and Parkinsons.  But there was never a discussion, never any facts to prove this is true. Yet due to emotion the NFL now has to fork out all this money.

The same type of emotion sets in in other areas as well.  People have gotten this idea that there would be more respect, and less apathy amid the respiratory therapy profession if it were a Bachelor's or Doctorate's program, turning us into a profession similar to nurse practitioners, or respiratory practitioners.  Yet think again.

Let's look at the pharmacy profession, for example.  We all love our neighborhood pharmacists, well so you'd think.  Many of the pharmacists I interview on a daily basis are not so happy with their profession.  Like RTs, pharmacists are burned out and apathetic, and there is also a high rate of suicide.

One pharmacist said to me, "We can't make mistakes, or a person can be seriously harmed or die.  We have doctors calling us all the time putting pressure on us.  We are often asked to do things that don't make sense. We have customers who complain because they have to wait too long for their drugs.  I could go on."

So here is a profession that is what many RTs want to become: well respected.  Yet even though they go through many more years of school, they also accrue hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.  Or, as one of my pharmacy friends said, "Most of us pharmacists are burned out and apathetic, yet because of student loans they have us trapped for at least 30 years."

It would cost a ton of time and money to become respiratory practitioners, at what risk? That we could never change careers even if we wanted because of all we invested into our profession? What if we don't even like being respiratory practitioners? What then?  Too bad, you've made your bed.

So, we shouldn't be so eager to change, or so quick to complain that what we already have is so bad. The NBRC has done a fabulous job of educating us, and physicians should come to terms with the fact that we are well educated in respiratory therapy.  Some physicians already have.


K. Scott Richey said...

Thank you again for enforcing your viewpoint in regards to obtaining advance credentials just to gain respect. I agree with your argument and others, that one should not obtain advance credentials to be respected.
Being respected is a matter of presence (how you act) and location.
Things to consider:
1. Physicians do not respect each other, examples:
a. How many times have you seen physicians change other physicians’ orders?
b. Surgeons do not have the same respect for primary care physicians or hospitalists as they do for other surgeons.
c. A surgeon in a highly specialized field does not give the same respect to a general surgeon then to a colleague in their same specialty.
Sure they may be cordial to each other but the level of respect varies.
2. You (RT’s) do not even respect physicians equally;
a. You do not respect the ICU intensivist the same as the hospitalist, anesthesiologist, ER Doc, in regards to ventilator management.
b. How many times have you changed ventilator settings or got orders to, due to the enormous tidal volumes (>12 ml IDBW) anesthesia put their post-operative patient on?
3. Location- higher credentials mean nothing outside work/ hospital.
a. Do you really think your MMA (mixed martial arts) trainer cares if you are a physician when you’re on the mat? No he is going to take you down and pummel you.
b. During a golf lesson with a golf pro who has the higher status?
c. Even a good waiter claims a higher status at a fine dining establishment, when needing help with wine pairings.
Yes, I have obtained higher credentials but not due to wanting respect. It was purely financially driven (I made $4.00 > per hour as an RRT).
Other considerations:
1. Do Mid-level practitioners actually make much more money for the time & money invested in obtaining the extra credentials?
2. Mid-level practitioners are usually salaried, still take call, and weekends.
3. Mid-level practitioners may get the not so glamorous tasks dumped on them.
Just my thoughts.

K. Scott Richey said...


Here is also my more detailed argument on the controversy:

Rick Frea said...

100% agree, and greatly appreciate your comments.