Covering the inauguration speech of our new AARC President George Gaebler in the February edition of the AARC Times, Times contributor Debbie Bunch stresses that “upgrading the entry level (to the associate’s degree) helped to raise the stature of RTs in the nation’s hospitals and other care settings” and went on to write that Mr. Gaebler “believes a similar transition may be necessary today to position RTs for the coming explosion in disease management roles.”
By “similar transition,” Ms. Bunch points to the urgent and essential paradigm shift required for our profession to survive: a bachelor’s degree entry level. Indeed, perhaps the fruits of our hesitation have already been realized when the state of Michigan decided to “deregulate” the profession of respiratory care. Had the profession more clout and more of a professional footing, perhaps this would have turned out differently. (See my blog “Stay Vigilant.“) We must raise the stakes in our favor!
The article points out that “statistics suggest many respiratory therapists have already seen the ‘handwriting on the wall’ and furthered their own education … (and) that about 46 percent of therapists currently possess a bachelor’s degree or higher.” That still leaves room for significant “transition.”
The old cliché “seeing the handwriting on the wall” harkens back to the apparition of a hand that appeared to an ancient king, spelling out the fate of his kingdom in large letters on the palace wall. The translation read in part: “You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting.” In the continuing reform of healthcare how will we be found? Will we be weighty enough to stand?