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Friday, November 22, 2013

RT: Respiratory Intensivists and Germ Spreaders

The following is a post from our friend, the retired RT Will Lessons:

Hello folks.  Even the best of us have bad days.  One of the things I like about this job is even when I'm feeling grumpy my patients still love me.  The reason is because my "grumpiness" ends at the door.

Seriously, folks.  I just didn't feel I was at the top of my game.  I was irritated at all the stupid doctor orders.  The nurses that day seemed to be treating me as a slave rather than a part of the patient care team.

So that's where I stood.  It was right at the middle of my shift. I'm standing by the nurses station, taking in a deep breath, wiping the sweat off my brow, checking the time, and the mom to a ten-year-old asthmatic comes up to me and says:  "My daughter loves you.  She keeps asking when you're coming back."

I smile, and say, "I'll come say hi to her in a few minutes."

I loved that little girl.  I knew she was one of the few patients who actually needed me.  In fact, I had wanted to check on her an hour ago, but because I kept getting paged for frivolous things, I never had a chance.

I finally check on that little asthmatic girl.  She is all smiles when I walk into the room.  She makes my day.

So this is when my mind starts to twist and turn and an idea occurs to me: we are basically germ spreaders in the emergency room, and respiratory intensivists on the patient floors.  There's no respiratory therapy going on here.

Think about it.

1.  Germ spreaders.  Every person admitted to the ER with sniffles, sneezes, body aches and pains, is ordered to get a beta adrenergic aerosol so we can spread their germs by means of aerosol.

2.  Respiratory intensivists:  An RT who exists just to do breathing treatments required so the insurance company is happy enough to flip the bill.

That right there consists of 90 percent of the therapies we do at Shoreline Medical.  We get burned out to the point we aren't able to spend time with the patients who really need us.  That's life, I guess.

Thanks.  Will Lessons RRT


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