Hey everyone! So I have been writing a lot about what goes on in my life, what bothers me and what I might need to change about me. But today, I’m going to write about something very different. I want to write about health professionals out there, wherever they may be, and how amazing they are and how much they do! Also, this one’s long so bear with me!
I am a current student studying to be a respiratory therapist. A LOT of people out there don’t really understand what we do and look at me like it’s not the best choice since it’s not nursing or being a doctor. I want to write about being an RT today, and also to perhaps try and raise awareness of how much every person in the hospital does but does not get acknowledged for it. Let’s start from what respiratory therapists really do. In brief, we take care of cardiopulmonary issues. We work with physicians, nurses, and other departments in the patient care setting to take care of your oxygen, medications pertaining to your lungs, and one of the hardest things we do is to breath for patients, LITERALLY. By that I mean we take care ventilators, which are machines that are hooked up to those tubes that go down your throat when you can’t breath on your own, or when you go to surgery, or are in serious condition. We don’t just keep you alive, but unfortunately, we are also the ones that unplug the machines/let you go/extubate you off the machine or whatever you want to call it. Having said that and bringing up the topic of letting patient’s go and rid them off their misery, it’s one of the hardest jobs ANY health care professional does on a DAILY basis.
Yes, we deal with death daily. Nurses, doctors, RTs, PAs, and everyone else out there try their hardest to take care of their patients in a way that will be most promising for their health and our ultimate goal is to send you home as soon as possible. So imagine our disappointment, our sadness, when a family member or a friend yells at us or talks bad about us because we aren’t doing something the way they want. Now before I upset someone, I completely utterly understand the hardship a family goes through when their loved one is in the hospital and all they ever want is for their own to get better. And yes sometimes it does seem like all these people aren’t doing enough to fix your problems, but believe me we are trying our best! Can you imagine the pain and heavy hearts we take home once the shift gets over?
Imagine a 12 to 13 hour shift where 4 times in just one day you had to tell patients that they won’t be able to stay in this hospital forever and have to find a LTAC (long term acute care) facility, or that they won’t be living beyond 6 more months? Imagine losing a 10 days old baby you’ve been praying for and fighting hard for from your end to make the newborn live and it so happens that the next day you come back you find out they passed away? Imagine the pain when you tried saving a life of a young patient that was just fine 30 minutes ago and you find yourself spending 20 minutes performing back to back compressions, giving drugs, shocks, manual breaths, and they just didn’t make it? Imagine going through a divorce where you stayed up till 1 am fighting but you still have to wake up at 5 in the morning and show up to work with a happy face because you took an oath that you will do anything to save lives?
We, healthcare workers go through hardships of not just our lives, but also of our patients. We run to the restroom to cry if we lose our patient, we listen to banter of families everyday that what we’re doing is just not enough and we need to be better. I get your frustration, I do, but please understand our hardships too after all we are also just human beings. That doctor you yelled at has been going over patients’ files since last night and hasn’t slept in 24 hours because of being on call and back-to-back cases. That nurse you just yelled at has a young baby she’s raising all by herself and is having hard time finding money to put him in daycare while she is at work trying hard to keep you alive. That RT you yelled at because you didn’t feel like taking your medicine is getting hard time at home from an emotionally draining marriage. But we LOVE working hard for our patients! The first time we fix someone up and get a ‘thank you’, we change our life goal to saving lives every time we enter the hospital. You can ask any healthcare worker and they will tell you that patients’ success is our success and when we patch you up and send you home, it makes our hearts happy.
So one issue I always had and still have is the lack of acknowledgment and appreciation that we face many times. Since I am an RT student, I would like to say that RTs are not appreciated much for all that they do. Once when asked why RTs aren’t known much by general population unlike nurses and doctors, my professor replied by saying that we do all the work in the dark. He meant that lot of the work we do is usually when the patient is either sedated, or comatose, or not in the condition to understand what’s going on. I see many letters and thank you notes for nurses on the boards on each floor but never for RTs in the department who do just as much work as any other profession. So please, next time you see or come across a respiratory therapist do tell them how much they are appreciated!
Also, I understand that there are people who might work but don’t do it whole-heartedly, or don’t take their job seriously, or show their mean side just because they are having a bad day. Again, we are just humans and that happens. But most of us have joined these professions because we wanted to change lives, wanted to save people, wanted to make a difference and we are doing that every day. No matter what our own lives throw at us, our responsibility from the moment we walk in the hospital is to take care of the patients assigned to us.
SO TO ALL HEALTHCARE WORKERS OUT THERE, THANK YOU! THANK YOU FOR WORKING SO HARD TO SAVE AS MANY LIVES AS YOU CAN! And to all those patients, families, and friends that respect us, appreciate us, and thank us; we do this for you guys and are happy to see you happy and healthy!