Times are tough. Across the broad and reeling healthcare landscape, there are winners and losers. This is especially true in the acute care space. Large hospital systems, or those with the opportunity to partner with them, are certainly thriving. Smaller, rural, less-well-funded hospitals are shuttering. Those surviving facilities are seeing unpredictable variability in patient volume, mix and acuity. Difficult times indeed. The time of our professional evolution is upon us. It is exigent that we distinguish ourselves and the value we add across all aspects of the care continuum. Therefore, fundamental change must happen in these areas.
Preparation: Elevate the entry-level requirements for respiratory therapists to a bachelor’s degree and a registry credential. This has been discussed long enough! While we hem and haw, other disciplines are crowding our space and passing us by while state agencies are contemplating our deregulation! If we are to evolve, our DNA must advance, and education is the key to our evolution!
Practice: In order to abandon volume for value, the care we deliver will be evidence based and competently carried out. If we project confidence in the midst of chaos, we will be met with increased trust and increased responsibility. We want to not only be the first ones called to a patient crisis but the first ones thought of for every consult, cause and committee.
Presence: Fast on the heels of our evolving practice follows our evolving recognition. Where nursing care is predominantly local and scheduled, respiratory care is global and responsive. We are already everywhere all the time. This accident of our fundamental workflow is an advantage that we need to leverage as inspiration, influence and impact throughout the C suite, the hospital and all along the care continuum, ultimately reaching out into the community as the champions of lung health. We want to be sorely missed if we are not at the table, and then we should only be coming in late from another required rendezvous.
Partnerships: The completion of our professional evolution becomes evident when we increase collaboration at all levels of the healthcare community. What more can be said about that?
I leave you with this from Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. “What we need to do is always lean into the future; when the world changes around you and when it changes against you — what used to be a tail wind is now a head wind — you have to lean into that and figure out what to do because complaining isn’t a strategy.”