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Monday, November 19, 2012

Respiratory Therapy: What this job's all about

The first thing I do when I come to work, or after report and socializing anyway, and with the exception of those days when all hell hits the fan, I walk around and visit all the patients that I know.  Usually it's at least half of them, and many times all. 

I don't just just ask "how are you feeling?" and leave, because that's what busy people do.  I don't do that.  I sit down and talk about things they want to talk about.  Or, if they are busy -- like sleeping -- I just keep walking.  And usually I know these patients because they've been admitted to the hospital before, and many are regulars.  So you get to know them.  You know what they like, and what you can talk about. 

Yes, sometimes I talk about politics.  It's a fallacy that you can't talk about politics with people you don't know (or in this case know).  You do have to be careful, but so long as you love the other person (a God kind of love), and you hug and kiss at the end of a discussion (which I don't because I'm not a touchy feely kind of guy, but you know what I mean), you can talk about just about anything.  Yet you also have to know your patient.  What do they want to talk about?  Can they take a joke?  Lord knows some people can't take a joke, and you should be able to tell who those people are. 

That's one of the talents I have as a peaceful phlegmatic is I'm able to blend into the personality of the person I'm around.  I don't really have my own personality, I just sort of blend in.  This gives me the ability to understand people.  I have the personality where I get along with everyone, or I find a way.  I'm a keeper of the peace.  So it's relatively easy for me to mesh with people.  People like me. 

Surely I have stubborn tendency's, as I don't back off on principle. Unlike some people in Washington, I believe values and principles are etched in stone and should never be changed.  Kind of like the U.S. Constitution.  Kind of like the Bible.  The world may change, but those things stay the same.  They are like the cornerstone that never gets moved.  They are the foundation of what we teach our kids, and what we go back to during times of trouble. 

So I talk to my patients, and sometimes I talk about values and principles, and those are my favorite discussions.  I also love talking about politics and the Bible.  I usually start a discussion off when I see a Bible in the room with this question:  "If you met a person who didn't believe in God and you could refer them to one story in the Bible to try to convince them, what would you recommend?"  It usually leads to a good hearty discussion. 

That, to me, is the purpose of this job.  It's not about making money, it's about charity.  It's not about giving your time; lending an ear.  And I think that's why most professions where we work with people don't make much money.  Teachers and nurses and respiratory therapists and police officers don't make money, even though we have the most important jobs.  We don't do this for the money, we do it because we love working with people.  (And, therefore, people bosses take advantage of this, yet that's another post).

So just remember this, about this job, that it's not about whether you chart correctly, it's not about that you cut corners or do everything the way the order set and guideline says, and it's not that you charted correctly or filed an EKG in the right spot.  It's not about how much money the hospital can make, it's about giving of our time to help out our fellow God fearing human beings. 


dylann andre said...

Its good to hear this. That not all doctors just follow procedure or just make money. Its a good job rick that you create a good communication and relationship to your patients.

Jessica said...

Hello, My name is Jessica Vincente. I am student at Union County College(NJ), and I have an assignment called The Career Research Project. I am studying to be a RT, and I have to write a research paper about it as well as conduct an interview with a professional from the area I want to go after I get my degree. Can you recommend some professionals in the RT area? Who are the most renowned professionals at the moment? That would help me if the professionals are from New Jersey. I really hope you can help me with this. my email is:

Thank you very much.

Jessica Vincente.

Rick Frea said...

I don't know any RT professionals in your area, however... what you should do is call your local hospital and ask for the respiratory therapy department... most respiratory therapists love to teach, and any RT in your area would probably be more than happy to answer your questions. I know I would.

CDM said...

I agree. The thing I love most about my job is the relationship I build with each patient. Even the difficult ones seem to make my workday go faster. Do I like vent checks, nebs, ABG's, codes ekg's and NICU..yeah. But I LOVE the people.