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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dave the Apathetic Respiratory Therapist

Dave is a respiratory therapist who constantly complains about useless breathing treatments. So I drew up an RT Driven protocol thinking he'd help me push it through.  Yet he hated it.  He said, "All this is gonna do is create more work for us."

Dave is a quintessential example of an apathetic respiratory therapist.  Apathy in the RT cave spreads faster than the plague.  It's caused by education and experience.  The wiser an RT becomes the more apathetic he tends to be. 

With 30 years experience that followed two years of intense RT schooling, Dave has a plethora of RT wisdom in his cranium.  Yet many doctors are afraid to give up autonomy.  Plus doctors and nurses still believe the old myth that bronchodilators treat everything from dyspnea to rickets.  To read about the 12 myths of respiratory therapy click here.

Yet when Dave tried to educate the doctors and nurses he was told to shut his mouth.   Either that or the doctor became so frustrated with Dave the doctor doubles the frequency of therapy and adds IPPB and mucomyst just to piss Dave off.  So then Dave grumbled about studies showing IPPB merely works to over inflate good alveoli, yet Dave was told to shut up again.

Dave wrote up an RT driven protocol in the past, and the RT cave boss said it was a good idea and even hailed it as brilliant, yet other than that this boss did nothing to push it through.  The boss, in other words, blew Dave's protocol off.  The boss didn't want to make waves and he also didn't want to risk losing procedures.

Dave decided that no matter what he did he was either told what he wanted to hear or ignored.  He became frustrated.  While he loved to learn, he decided there was no point.  So when I approached him with my idea of a RT protocol, he had already gone down that route and rejected my idea.

He often says, "The only reason I work is to get a paycheck."  He's bored of his job, he has a sense no matter what he does it won't get better, so he's just along for the ride.  Like many respiratory therapists, he's apathetic. defines apathy as absence of passion, emotion, excitement, or interest.  Apathetic people don't necessarily hate their work, they simply feel too much of what they are doing is irrelevant to the course of improving the world or benefiting the patient. Apathetic RTs, like Dave, feel their is no incentive to go above and beyond the call of the basic duty.

In the case of respiratory therapists, they feel doing breathing treatments on every patient admitted to the hospital is a waste of time, and does nothing to improve the health of most of the patient's they're ordered on. It's a feeling that you know how to improve the hospital setting, you know how to really help patients, yet no one cares to hear your story.

It's hard for teachers to teach Dave anything because he no longer cares. There's an old saying that once you become apathetic you no longer care.  Dave no longer cares.  He now refuses to read up on anything new unless he's forced to do so. He didn't used to be this way, yet he is now.  He's become apathetic.

When people try to teach Dave something new he learns with an attitude.  He grumbles and gripes.  He's apathetic.

Now that I've dug deeper into it I understand Dave's behavior. What Dave has is Respiratory Therapy Apathy Syndrome (RATS).  You can read more about Dave's conditions by clicking here.

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