slideshow widget

Monday, July 18, 2011

Respiratory Therapy Depression

A new report released today by the newly formed Respiratory Therapy Apathy Syndrome Nebulizer Society (RATS NEST) has linked Respiratory Therapy Apathy Syndrome (RATS) with depression.

A report compiled by CNN's Tammy Worth, "Why your job is making you depressed," shows that some professions are prone to high levels of worker depression, and at the top of the list were folks working in the health care industry.

Some people are more prone to depression than others, CNN report.  Factors contributing to depression include temperament, and lack of social support.  The highest job related factor is a feeling of loss of control, or a feeling you have no control about what you do.  Another factor is a feeling that what you do doesn't matter, and does not benefit the patient, or a feeling that you're wasting your time.

These feelings lead to apathy, a feeling of unhappiness, powerlessness, and helplessness.

Upon further research of the data nurses, x-ray techs, lab techs and physicians were among those jobs listed with high depression rates.  Young physicians had the highest suicide rates, yet the experts figure that's only because physicians have better access to good drugs, and not so much that doctors are more depressed than other medical care workers.

In the report there was no mention of respiratory therapists.  This concerned members of the RATS NEST who are making a gallant attempt to improve respect for the profession of respiratory therapy and reduce the rates of respiratory therapy apathy.

So RATS performed a study of it's own.  Three thousand RTs were asked to participate, of which 2,734 volunteered.  Anonymous members of RATS NEST asked a series of 40 questions to the RTs in order to determine their level of RATS and whether or not they were depressed.

The study participants were then asked a series of questions each month for the next three years.  The results were then compiled and published on the newly formed blog RATS NEST.

"We would love to go national with our study, "said RATS NEST founder Mike Olin (retired registered respiratory therapist out of Los Angeles California and the only member not to remain anonymous), "Yet even infamous respiratory magazines like the RT Times refuse to acknowledge the existence of RATS.  We're on our own here.  We tend to lack the respect of other groups because most of our members choose to remain anonymous for fear of losing their jobs."

The report concluded that there is likewise a high level of depression among respiratory therapists, and this respiratory therapy depression has a linear relationship with noted levels of RATS.  The study reports the following:

  • RTs of fewer than 5 years with burnout:  20%
  • RTs of fewer than 5 years with RATS:  10%
  • RTs of fewer than 5 years with depression:  2%
  • RTs of greater than 5 years with burnout:  50%
  • RTS of greater than 5 years with RATS:  81%
  • RTS of greater than 5 years with depression 20%
"We concluded that the longer an RT is exposed to the profession the more unhappy he becomes," Olin said.  "This leads to chronic unhappiness, chronic passivity, apathy, and this leads to RATS.  Likewise, having RATS greatly increases your chances of getting respiratory therapy depression."

Olin added that "RATS has nothing to do with whether the RT loves being an RT or not.  A person could really love being an RT, yet the development of RATS is simply what occurs when an RT tires of doing therapies that aren't indicated and getting burned out as a result."

According to experts sited in the post, "Willard adds that other job-related factors that can decrease the likelihood of depression include working in occupations that offer some physical movement, interaction with people, variety, and a sense of accomplishment."

Willard adds that other job-related factors that can decrease the likelihood of depression include working in occupations that offer some physical movement, interaction with people, variety, and a sense of accomplishment.

Most experts recommend talking to your doctor.  "Yet how do you talk to your doctor when they are the cause of the problem," notes one anonymous member of RATS.

Regardless, "Olin notes, "depression is a greater problem above and beyond RATS, and it is not to be ignored. Depression must be treated and it can be treated. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, be sure to communicate this to the appropriate people so care can be provided."

No comments: