Thursday, September 19, 2013
Do not let emotion change RT profession for worse
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.