A recent article in the Advance for Respiratory Care and Sleep Medicine titled “Moving Forward” poses the question, “How does an RT advance?” Ignoring the obvious pun, the “feature” piece goes on to identify areas such as home oxygen therapy, patient transport and the emergency department as areas where the clinical competence of the go-getting Respiratory Therapist can compete in the ever morphing landscape of American healthcare. The overall message conveyed is that the Respiratory Care profession must also morph to keep pace.
In the article, Joseph P. Coyle, M.D., with the UNC Charlotte BSRT program observes, “the growing complexity of the profession is becoming more integrated with the use of protocols, clinical involvement in terms of consultations and collaboration with other healthcare providers. But to realize that heightened role, one thing will have to come first: More education.”
Boiling the question down, Dr. Coyle admonishes; “RTs will have to understand more than the respiratory procedures they learn at an associate level. In its ’2015 and Beyond’ initiative, AARC has been advocating a move to a higher level of education – to baccalaureate status – to provide the competencies that will be needed in the future. And clearly, the future is not far off.”