Respiratory Therapists Can Be Engines for Change
I watched a train the other day. It had cars loaded on top of each other. I cannot imagine the weight. It was long and rumbled through the countryside like a monster. Like most boys, when I was growing up I was sure that one day I would be driving a train to destinations I had yet to hear of. Things change, reality sets in, and life goes on. Still, there is much that respiratory departments can learn from watching a train.
In 1825, John Stevens built a test track to try out the new train in Hoboken, N.J. He laid the groundwork for all that would follow: improved train engines and tracks crisscrossing the country that make possible a way to ship freight that is arguably the least expensive mode we have. In a department, there always seems to be one innovator like Stevens, one person who is ahead of his or her colleagues in thinking. Department managers need to take advantage of this by encouraging the employee to follow through and see what develops. It is a long and winding road to gain acceptance of new technology or procedures, but you have to start somewhere. If it works and proves itself worthwhile, it will spread like the train tracks going to who knows where.
Departments are like the train engines. Managers need to be the front engines, leading the way and opening up new routes for the employee to travel down. Department staff are like the engines in the rear, offering support whenever it is needed. When these department is all working together, like that engines in the train that I saw, it is an awesome sight: a huge well-oiled machine moving down the tracks.
In my opinion, respiratory departments rely too much on finding out about technology rather creating our own. Respiratory therapists are some of the brightest people I know. They are naturally inquisitive, love to investigate things, are not afraid to try new things, and are smart enough to know how to adapt their findings to improving the lives of their patients. A department that works together is like that big train I saw: unstoppable. Everyone is clicking along to destinations unknown, but doing it together. When researching new procedures or new technologies, respiratory departments should be the train. Get down the track. Do not be afraid to go into new territory. Open up the "country" of respiratory care and make us the new "engineers" of the medical world.
That's just my opinion,
Jim Thacker, MHA, CRT, AE-C