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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Humility is the key to success as an RT

I would like to ad something to what I wrote yesterday. That along with all the great things about being an RT, the politics gets pulled right along. And the best way of dealing with politics is good old fashioned humility.

Sometime in life we have to do things we don't want to do. One of the biggest reasons for this is pure-D-politics. As much as we hate politics, we all get caught into it on a daily basis whether we want to or not.

Yesterday I wrote that I have learned that it is best to keep my mouth shut than to have the nurse telling me I'm a lazy RT who is just trying to get out of work. I'm not trying to get out of work, just being honest. That, my friends, is politics.

One of the things I have realized about the drug Albuterol, is that it basically has no side effects. It might make a person shaky, but that's a mild problem. It may make the occasional heart palpate, but that incidence is far and few between now that the "bronchodilator" has been so chemically refined.

And doctors know that. So, they decided long ago that it is better to give a bronchodilator than risk being seen as doing nothing. It is easier to just give the bronchodilator, than to assess the patient and waste your time thinking.

There are RTs that do this. There are RNs and doctors who are victims as well. When an RT does this, they are called treatment jockeys (more on this tomorrow). When doctors and RNs do this, they are just doing their jobs.

None of this would be possible, however, if not for the fact that this drug has been so refined. This refining has made the perfect medicine for bronchospasm.

But, with all good things must come the bad. The bad is that the refining has taken away our need to second guess whether a treatment is needed. "Oh, there are no side effects, so let's just give this treatment and see what happens."

And, if the RT complains, it's because he or she is lazy. So we RTs have learned to do our own PR and do not complain where others can hear us (well, most of us don't, or most of the time we don't). Then we just shut up and give the treatment.

You want to know why I really give the treatments even though I don't think they are

Because in life nothing is certain, and nobody is perfect, and I could be wrong.

And, even though sometimes I am quite certain I am right, humility, keeping the peace, is often more important that being right.

Allow me to quote something Biblically. This is not from the Bible, but it comes from a religious pamphlet, so it's pretty close to the Bible: "Lowliness of mind, or humility, can help you suppress the urge to insist on being right in a disagreement."

So, I suppose, what it comes down to is humility. And, to put it simply, humility is the key to success as an RT, especially when it comes to maintaining a good rapport with the rest of the people we work with.

This brings us to RT Cave Rule #25:

RT Cave Rule #25: The key to maintaining a good rapport with the other people we work with is good old fashioned humility. It's okay to not let people know that you are right.

And now for RT Cave Rule #26:

RT Cave Rule #26: A good RT will admit when he is wrong.

Allow me to add to this post one quote I read in a good book that fits in well here. In fact, I'll just make this another RT Cave Rule:

RT Cave Rule #27: "When a person complains, he is saying more about himself than about the person he is complaining about." Therefore, the most respected people in life are those who do not complain.

Thus, it is just better to bite your lip and get yourself burned out doing frivolous therapies than to complain.

There are exceptions to this rule, however. If there weren't exceptions, there would never be change brought about, and we would not have protocols. There are those among us who have the ability to get their way. They are the smooth talkers.

So, if you are not a smooth talker, like I'm not, you're better off using your humility and just keeping the peace.

An RT co-worker of mine likes to refer to us RTs as keepers of the piece. He says that one of the main jobs of us RTs is public relations. We are the PR department.

Which isn't so bad I suppose.

That, my good friends, is the deep thought of the day.


Freadom said...


Heidi said...

I'd have to agree. However, I disagree when Humility is the route we must take when the Nurse is ordering something without doing their OWN evaluation/assessment of the patient.

Like when I got called to do a breathing treatment on a person who was complaining they couldn't breath through their nose.
--Ok? How about some ocean spray and tissues. Albuterol does nothing for the nasal passages. Was the nurse really listening to the patient?

The absolute best was when I was called to do a breathing treatment on a patient having an MI, who was diaphretic and in pain, stating he was having chest pain and couldn't breathe. He was having S-T elevation changes on the montior.
--I got to the room and called a rapid response. Patient coded and died within 30 minutes.

The ability to assess the patient is everyone's job. Humility must lay in everyone's constitution. When they call for breathing treatments because they just don't want to take the time to really listen to the patient and a sentinal event occurs as a result that's where I have a big problem.

But, as usual, I'm always happy to give the breathing treatment, indicated or not, to make sure every single base is covered.

lorieee629 said...

I had a nurse call me STAT because this little old lady was having difficulty breathing. They couldn't understand why. The lady was about 80 years old, slight dementia, no teeth, large lips.
Every time she went to take a breath in she would gasp and with her mouth closed her lips would block her nostrils. This took me 2 seconds to evaluate. The nurse wanted to know what to do...
I said keep her lips away from her nose!! True story, ya just can't write this stuff!!