Where Is Strong Leadership for RTs?
We have all heard the old saying "you get out of it what you put into it." I read that this morning on a website, and that still holds true, even today. In respiratory care, when young people ask me for career advice, that is usually what I tell them. Depending on what they put in to the career field, their returns will be good or bad.
I have worked in respiratory therapy for 30 years. The changes in RT, the lack of leadership, the "good ole boys" who represent us, and the feeling that we are not a joint group of professionals, but a cluster of good folks spread throughout a maze of not-so-good, have made my eyes wander to other professions. Talking with others, I see this as a trend. As health care continues to downsize, it may be possible that respiratory therapists go the way of the dinosaurs.
As an example, four months ago I wrote an email to the Missouri State Respiratory Care Society. Since their website had no meeting information on it, I sent a message to the president to find out when the next meeting was. I still await a response. The NBRC does not recognize my AE-C credentials; something that seems like a no-brainer for them to take over, make money off of, and further push the profession along, especially those specializing in asthma care. The AARC does not represent me and has not for quite some time. Their lobbying efforts put thousands of CRTs' jobs in jeopardy, and they have done little to bring any recognition to the field of respiratory care.
I don't go to church simply because no one has ever invited me. That's it. Not one person has invited me to go, so I haven't. I belong to the AARC, carry a card for the NBRC, and attend functions when I can, but the close-mindedness of members thwart any attempt to be active at a level that means anything.
In my opinion, if we want to change that, we need new blood. Like national politics, leaders of our profession have failed us miserably. The field is in disarray. The people look for leadership that isn't there. Too many therapists join, and then cannot navigate through the hierarchy to find any answers, advice, jobs, or resources they need to become great therapists. We lose them to other disciplines, or, at best, they specialize in other areas that take them off the floors and away from patients they could help.
My first 20 years of respiratory therapy was great, but the changes in the last 10 have been discriminatory, ineffective, and have left therapists without a sense of community that other disciplines in the hospital have. Even trying to get therapists to respond to a five minute poll, as I have found out, is difficult. We have too many splinter groups because we have not found one that can manage us effectively. I admire all respiratory therapists, and think that we, as a group, deserve better.
"We will get out of our profession what we put into it".