My job as a Respiratory Therapist

I was inspired to write this after reading a nurse’s entry about her frustrations with her career as a registered nurse. I have been a Respiratory Therapist for close to eight years. I work closely with nurses’ everyday and I have to admit they get “shit” on just as much as I do. They only difference is that the nurses try to take their frustration on me. Respiratory Therapy is a specialty, ancillary service if you will, that specializes in the overall respiratory(pulmonary) system. We pride ourselves in our ability to manage the airway of sick patients, whether it’s intubating a sick child or initiating mechanical ventilation on a trauma patient, respiratory therapy is called on for many critical tasks. It is a college degree that is required and national examinations that must be passed to be credentialed. We are held to the highest standards for state licensure and yet we are not treated as professionals in many hospitals and institutions. The reasons are many, but I have found that a good department manager is the best way to insure that nursing does not try to diminish our role as a needed profession. Ask any pulmonologist or surgeon and they always want Respiratory Therapy present for critically ill patients. Now I will start my rant about nursing. Many nurses I meet and work with are taught some screwed up shit in nursing school. To all the nursing instructors who are telling your nursing students that bronchodilators are indicated for a “cough” or better yet “low oxygen saturations” please shut the fuck up and read your own textbooks. These are not reasons to page the shit out of me and “request” that Mrs. Smith really needs a breathing treatment. I have no problem giving treatments to those who need it, that is my job. When I come and see Mrs. Smith and actually use my stethoscope to auscultate her lungs and conclude the patient is not wheezing, is not diminished and generally will not benefit from a bronchodilator treatment, I expect you to understand my expertise. Instead most nurses want to have a pissing match, even though they are ignorant they “insist” on Mrs. Smith having a treatment. Go fuck yourself. How about if I came onto your nursing unit and demanded that every patient who shit their bed be changed immediately, regardless of your staffing problems. It’s true, many patients lie in their own shit for hours while their nurse is busy “charting” needless assessments that they don’t do appropriately anyways. I walk into patients rooms all day and am bombarded by requests for basic care items or their call light that is laying on the floor. I do not just have eight patients that I have to see in any given shift, try triple or quadruple that number. I am sick of patients asking me to hurry and get them on the bed pan (it’s not in my job description) because their nurse or aide will not answer their call light. The nurse or aide is sitting at the nurses station on their fat ass eating doughnuts, ignoring the call light. So there, right back at you nurses. Don’t get me wrong, there are alot of good nurses who I respect and like to work with, but there are way too many lazy and witless RN’s out there who “insist” Mrs. Smith have a breathing treatment. My rant is done, thanks for listening.

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