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ADVANCE for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine welcomes you to Respiratory and Sleep Voices: Blogs, part of our Healthcare POV blog and forum community from ADVANCE. Our online community offers interactive blogs written by respiratory care practitioners, sleep techs, and our editorial staff. The blogs will discuss issues related to the field, breaking news, and candid observations. Voice your opinions and submit feedback to the authors through the comment section. To suggest a blog topic, email vnewitt@advanceweb.com.
LATEST POSTS FROM EACH BLOG
October 20, 2014 12:30 PM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

I find the news so funny these days. The "sexy" thing to report on now is every single person affected with the Ebola virus, which many of us never heard of and did not know anything about until recently. Now, we have all the misinformation we want, and we still do not know anything about it other than the President of the United States has appointed a "czar" to oversee it here at home, and that people continue to die ...

 
October 13, 2014 4:11 PM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

Most of us in healthcare recognize "health promotion and disease prevention" as smoking cessation, getting an annual physical, vaccinations, a gamut of diagnostic tests, and taking medications as directed.  However, disease prevention and health promotion are so much more than that. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health is a "state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, ...


 
October 13, 2014 1:28 PM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

Good supervisors know that there are some people in the department who just "get it" when it comes to taking on new projects. Using a "knowledge management system (KMS)" can help supervisors delegate authority for projects and get subject matter experts involved. The hard part for some is giving the "expert" the authority and freedom to plan, execute, implement and review the project on his or her own.

Cudney, Corns ...


 
October 6, 2014 12:49 PM by Penny Mehaffey of Adventures in Sleep

New research shows alarming but not surprising data that teens the world over self -medicate with over-the counter and prescription drugs. The statistics are:

  • young people age 13 to 18 routinely self-medicate with over-the-counter and prescription medications for various health concerns;
  • 22 percent of U.S. teens indicated that they overmedicated with painkillers; and 
  • around ...

 
October 6, 2014 9:23 AM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

I found this interesting this week. Researchers at MIT and Massachusetts General are experimenting with a pill that features little needles in it. When the pill is swallowed, the needles scratch the surface of the tissue in the stomach and inject the medicine. Successful trials have been conducted in mice and pigs.

My worry would be scratching the surface of the esophagus on the way down. Still, since most ...


 

Pediatric respiratory therapists deal with various diseases, but one stands out that is challenging, can take your breath away, and can be an emotional roller coaster: Cystic Fibrosis (CF).  There are various genetic mutations and aspects to this disease.  There are many updates occurring and I learned some of these new updates at a lecture presented by respiratory therapist Darlene Cowcer at the VSRC Neonatal/Pediatric ...

 
September 30, 2014 12:39 PM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

Here is a crazy idea: replace antibiotics with probiotics. That's right: instead of scrubbing up with antibacterial agents prior to surgery, we could dip our hands in yogurt.

Now stop laughing and consider this: Bacteria do not generally grow atop each other.  Instead, they tend to fill up spaces.  Scientists theorize that when surgeons "scrub in," they remove beneficial bacteria, leaving room for ...


 
September 30, 2014 8:15 AM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

With winter approaching quickly, it is time to remind ourselves that while some fun things occur during the colder months of the year, for people with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, the risks of winter and the holidays are increased. Winter traditionally starts anywhere from mid-October to early November, depending on where you are. First comes Thanksgiving, then you are wishing people a ...


 
September 24, 2014 4:13 PM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

One of the reasons why patients tell me they are disgruntled with their healthcare is they never know what the financial cost will be. For most of my professional career, it never really dawned on me how extraordinary that is! I took it for granted, like so many of my colleagues, that we have carte blanche to do what is in the patient's best interest, and the patient/insurance company will simply pay the bill. Or ...


1 comments  
September 22, 2014 10:10 AM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

It's that time of year. Time for the annual flu shot. Healthcare workers usually get them, in fact, most hospitals require them if you want to work through the winter. But what about patients? Many cannot afford the flu shot, and may not be aware that places like health departments and other service organizations offer them for free or at a low cost. It may amaze some that people can be so "out of the loop," but some ...


 
September 18, 2014 11:38 AM by Penny Mehaffey of Adventures in Sleep

I read with great interest the study results suggesting that sleeping after learning (studying) enhances our memory and ability to recall information. This is good news for students everywhere. The article was released in June by researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center.  The research, done in mice (I'm sorry but I can't help picturing Jerry the mouse sitting in his little mouse hole reading the newspaper), ...


 

Recently there has been a new concern for pediatric ICUs. A mysterious respiratory virus is affecting children, Enterovirus-68 (EV-D68). Enterovirus is common in the month of September, but this variant is not. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) there have been fewer than 100 cases since its discovery in California in the 1960's. Now health officials in over twelve states have reported ...

 
September 15, 2014 2:42 PM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog rebuking the notion that it is okay to hand off respiratory responsibilities to non-respiratory care providers.  I posited the problem with the promise of writing about the solution in a future blog. (Read Part 1 here.)

The solution ...


2 comments  
September 15, 2014 9:35 AM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

Today, I watched my Kansas City Chiefs lose to the heavily favored Denver Broncos. They tried, and they kept it close. In the end, all that matters is that they lost. I fear that rural hospitals are in the same situation. Whereas these bastions of care used to dot the landscape, times are tough for rural facilities. Some have been bought out by corporate systems, and have probably improved from the infusion of money ...


 
September 10, 2014 3:05 PM by Rebecca Hepp of ADVANCE Perspective: Respiratory Views

It seems unexplained outbreaks are the name of the game this year ... and this time it's hitting home in the U.S. The CDC has reported a recent outbreak of enterovirus 68 (EV-D68 ) in Illinois and Missouri, with warnings that it could spread to neighboring states.

It's time for pediatric RTs to strap on their battle gear ...


2 comments  
September 8, 2014 4:19 PM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

Noone likes to toot their own horn, but with all the competing services, we literally fight for survival in healthcare. As respiratory therapists, it is our job not only to care for our communities, but to let them know that we are available, in many cases 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Respiratory Care Week is October 19-25. What better time to do a little public relations and marketing?

There are many things ...


1 comments  
September 3, 2014 3:12 PM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

The vast majority of patients who sustain a mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI, formerly called a "concussion") improve within hours to days, with no lasting clinical sequelae. However, some patients may continue to have symptoms more than a year after injury. Those who are most at risk for persistent symptoms include wounded warriors and certain athletes. Because these patients may sustain repeated blows to the head, ...

 
September 2, 2014 8:23 AM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

As medical professionals, it is important that we project a certain image to our patients. We need to be professional, intelligent, curious and caring -- all at the same time. The biggest detractor we face is our interactions with other professionals, which are sometimes in a very unprofessional manner. The therapist at the nurses' desk chatting with the nurses are noticed by those family members on the way to the ...


1 comments  

Have you ever had an experience that made you feel like you chose the right profession? One of those times where you felt you made the difference that changed the course of a patient's care? 

Towards the beginning of my career as a respiratory therapist, I had one of those moments. I was working in the acute care area; I was assigned to an asthma patient that didn't seem to have the typical course. A ...


3 comments  
August 28, 2014 10:50 AM by Penny Mehaffey of Adventures in Sleep

We had a COPD patient in the lab this week. This is not an unusual occurrence, but it was an exclamation point for me, given that CMS adds COPD to the list of targeted and tracked diseases this October. I thought our patient was a prime example of why COPD is so difficult to treat and why it made the list.

Upon arrival to the lab all was well, but an hour and a half later he begins to complain of SOB; he ...


2 comments  
August 25, 2014 9:14 AM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

I love to think of ways to improve patient care delivery, and usually embrace change. To me, "That's the way we've always done it," is ridiculous. There is, however, one change I cannot abide: That it is acceptable to hand off certain RT responsibilities to other allied health professionals, or worse, to unskilled labor. 

IMHO, it is NOT OK to give away anything! Do RNs hand off tasks to others ...


1 comments  
August 25, 2014 8:29 AM by Jimmy Thacker of In My Opinion

Let's imagine a better world for a minute. Imagine a United States that actually wanted to cut down on smoking. Imagine what kinds of programs would be instituted. Graphic images on cigarettes, ads educating the public about the risk of not only lung cancer, but of stroke and other diseases. We could imagine that, and we could have had that years ago, but the CDC and seemingly everyone else has to have their say first. ...

1 comments  
August 21, 2014 11:15 AM by Penny Mehaffey of Adventures in Sleep

Difficult patients in the sleep lab are no surprise, nor are they a new phenomenon. What is new is the frequency with which they are showing up. Sometimes it feels as if the doctors are in a contest to see who can refer in the most difficult patient. 

I come from a nursing background and so I can usually handle whatever comes through the door but now I am guided by a different set of standards. The ...


 

Ebola. Unless you have been living under a rock, you probably know more about this disease than you ever wanted to know. It has infected more than 2,000 people and killed at least 1,145 in four different West African countries already. And it's spreading. But are healthcare workers prepared if Ebola were to hop the pond and ...

 
August 18, 2014 12:49 PM by Victoria Florentine of An RT Paradigm Shift

Recently, I engaged in a conversation about direct access physicians, not realizing the vociferousness of the opposition to doctors who opt out of Medicare.  However, as a respiratory patient advocate, I do not shy away from a debate if the subject is improving patient care. Even though I do not have the answers, I believe we should question everything, especially the status quo.

As passionate ...


 

ABOUT OUR BLOGS

A therapist since age 17, Jimmy Thacker shares his thoughts on anything and everything respiratory.

The ADVANCE staff follows the top stories impacting upper-level decision-makers in respiratory care and sleep medicine.

Adventures in Sleep gives us the chance to look at some of the fun, adventures and challenges we have helping our patients, and each other, in a climate of change.

Pediatric respiratory therapy is interesting, rewarding, and challenging all at the same time.

RTs need to consider newer and better ways to practice patient care.