CRT vs. RRT Debate Rages On
The education section of the AARC Connect is having a wonderful discussion (and several sub-conversations) about the two-tiered system used in our profession to designate CRTs from RRTs.
The first highlight is how educators may be failing our graduates in getting them prepared for the RRT exam and how that has adversely affected our profession. Craig Black, program director at Ohio's University of Toledo, said "educators were falling down on the job in preparing our students for the CSE." He further suggests that the CRT was developed "with the idea that we would have a two-tiered profession -- technician and therapist. ... Clearly, it is time to overhaul the credentialing procedure that we use for our profession."
In agreement with Black, Robert Brown, program director at Education Affiliates Inc., of Phoenix, stated, "The credentialing structure now does not match the educational system and the employment structure for respiratory practitioners." He also writes: "It should be noted that passing the NCLEX is necessary to obtain a state license whereas passing the RRT is not a requirement of state licensure for respiratory care program graduates. This may be one of the biggest disincentives to taking the RRT exams."
When discussing how new RRT graduates seem, at times, ill-prepared to join the profession with the tools we believe they should have to make an immediate impact, John Hughes, of Millersville University, Lancaster, Pa., stated we should "consider that perhaps many of our programs are not preparing graduates to think and choose the way an advanced therapist thinks and chooses."
I did strongly disagree with one comment on the message board. "The RRT exam stands as the credential carried by the experienced professional respiratory therapist -- one who has advanced beyond ‘rookie status' and is prepared for and qualified for greater challenge," a therapist wrote.
New RRTs are the experience of the profession? Let's hope not! While many RRTs do possess experience, graduating from an RRT school does not give it to you. Rather, it's the years of work in the field that prepares you with experiences that you can learn from. Is this person suggesting that all of us lowly CRTs with 30+ years of experience are still "rookies"?
Gayle Carr, of Illinois Central College, seems to agree with me. She asked the question: "How can any graduate, no matter how well-prepared or how good the program, be able to pass an advanced exam, when by definition a new graduate is not an advanced practitioner? Isn't a new graduate a beginning practitioner -- not an advanced practitioner?"
In my opinion, this is exactly the type of discussions we need to be having for our profession. Although none of us will agree with everything stated, it's important that we talk about it. Clearly, many state societies are not touching these issues. The AARC, whom I have chided in the past
, is at least showing a willingness to take on tough issues and listen to those working in the field with the experience and knowledge needed to contribute and point us in the right direction. The profession will only continue to grow, work out its problems, and be steered down the right paths when members of our ranks speak up.
Check out the full discussion at AARC Connect
. You will need to log in with your AARC number and password. If you don't have one, perhaps this is the issue that convinces you to support your profession by joining.