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RC Week 2012: AARC Members are Proud to be RTs!

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November 8, 2012

Respiratory therapists took center stage in their facilities and their communities during the week of Oct. 21–27, as the nation once again honored the profession through our National Respiratory Care Week. Many of you sent us stories and pictures from your activities, and now we’re sharing them with your colleagues across the country and around the world —

Alana Healthcare, Nashville, TN

Alana Healthcare

Alana HealthCare’s team of RTs provides high-touch care for patients living with COPD and chronic respiratory failure and the pulmonologists who treat them. During Respiratory Care Week we educated the health care community about the importance of pulmonary health and the important work of respiratory clinicians. We began the conversation with our custom-made “I Heart my RT” buttons. Our entire company of 100 people wore these buttons, showing solidarity with and appreciation for our RTs. We also provided physicians throughout Middle Tennessee with education about the important role of respiratory therapists in patient health.

Lastly, we decided to use Respiratory Care Week as an opportunity to launch our Patient Voices series, documenting and sharing the unique patient perspectives of those living with COPD. Our patients keep us focused on the most important goals in clinical care. Because of our committed RTs, patients are experiencing a level of independence not seen in years. You can hear directly from one of them, Ed Spivey, in this YouTube video. — Zach Gantt, RRT

Mid-State Technical College, Marshfield, WI

Mid-State Technical College

Mid-State Technical College proudly recognized Donna Kroening, RRT, as its Outstanding Alumnus for 2012. Donna is a graduate from 1994 and is employed at Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wausau, WI, as the day shift supervisor. Congratulations Donna! — Barbara Hughes, MS, RRT

YTI Career Institute, Mechanicsburg, PA

YTI Career Institute

The respiratory therapy program at YTI Career Institute - Capital Region participated in and raised funds for two “Fight For Air Walks” sponsored by the American Lung Association of Pennsylvania. We also participated in an Allied Health Pediatric Day and instructed children up to five years of age on deep breathing techniques utilizing bubble blowing. — John Conrad, BS, RRT-NPS

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, GA

Through Project Back Pack, we collected food for school children who would not have a hot meal over the weekend. So many Atlanta area school children live in motels that many of the schools collect food items to put in the children’s back packs on Fridays. This food feeds the entire family for the weekend. — Debra Marie Samuel, RRT

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; Mercy Hospital-St. Louis, St. Louis, MO

University of Missouri, Columbia

Chelse Beck, class of 2013, guest lectured to a group of pre-respiratory therapy students. Her session provided hands-on experience with intubation and airway care for intubated patients. Two MU students studying at our satellite campus at Mercy Hospital-St. Louis, Jillian Kingsbury and Rae Gardner, also class of 2013, led an effort to promote asthma awareness and raise money to send children to Camp Catch-Ya-Breath, an asthma camp for children in Missouri. — Shawna Strickland, PhD, RRT-NPS, AE-C, FAARC

Saint Paul College, Saint Paul, MN

Saint Paul College

Our students celebrated RC Week at the Minneapolis Veterans Center, providing education, PFTs, peak flow demonstrations, and COPD awareness. It was a great way for students to develop relationships, honor workers, and foster a better understanding of the asthma and COPD populations through interpersonal relationships and communication. — Joseph P. Buhain, MBA, RRT, FAARC

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ

Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center

We held daily drawings to give away prizes that were donated to us, and staff members also received certificates of recognition voted on by their peers. Vendors provided lunches and/or CEUs for both shifts every day of the week, and each team did a poster board reflecting the week. The Employee Recognition and Reward Team recognized service anniversaries for our department employees in 2012. — Byron A. Brooks, BBA, RRT

Gundersen Lutheran, La Crosse, WI

Gunderson Lutheran

We decided to promote within our organization by showcasing photos and posters in a high-traffic area of the hospital. One display exhibited artwork by patients of respiratory care. We also invited all of Gundersen Lutheran to a Respiratory Care Week Tea where we took the opportunity to promote our services and our profession. — Vance Fishel, RRT-NPS

Illinois Central College, Peoria, IL

We hosted an open house reception in our lab so that friends and family could come and see the ventilators, oxygen equipment, and other things that our students are learning about. Our goal was to inform the public of our chosen profession. — Kelly Crawford-Jones, MS, RRT

Great Falls College/Montana State University, Great Falls, MT

Great Falls College

Great Falls College/Montana State University respiratory care students were featured on 89.9 KGPR/KUFM Public Radio on Thursday, Oct. 18, where they talked about RC Week. The students described the profession and provided program information for the college. — Brian Cayko, MBA, RRT

Orange Regional Medical Center, Middletown, NY

Orange Regional Medical Center

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, we performed screening spirometry at our hospital.
In total we performed 60 tests over a five hour period using two spirometers. We also had an informational booth about respiratory therapy and the diseases we treat. — Frank Salvatore Jr., MBA, RRT, FAARC

Mission Health System, Asheville, NC

Mission Health System

We had a week-long series of events with daily drawings to show appreciation for our respiratory care practitioners. We also celebrated with a pumpkin decorating contest and a best dressed pet contest, and we had guest speakers come in to speak about new products being introduced in our facility and to the respiratory therapy profession. — Christopher Price, RRT, RCP

Greene County Medical Center, Jefferson, IA

Greene County Medical Center

We invited folks to our gazebo for a “Breath of Fresh Air.” We showcased some of our services and then educated on radon and had handouts from the American Lung Association. We also had a drawing for a free radon testing kit and treats. — Phyllis Drake, RRT, RCP

Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport, PA

Cole Memorial Hospital

Cole Memorial’s cardiopulmonary department facilitated both an internal and community benefit campaign to highlight our therapists for our other Cole team members. We hosted daily cafeteria games with prizes and an online auction to benefit a minor equipment purchase. We capped off our week on Friday evening with an asthma/COPD community outreach event featuring a presentation and various equipment review stations and givaways. Gracie (pictured with our RT team ) is an asthma self-management champ and has developed excellent tools in her ADLs for staying ahead of the game. Gracie has a unique magic marker color scheme for all her inhaler tracking and even charts her teeth brushing in purple. Gracie’s mom, and Dr. Marlene Wust-Smith, her pediatrician, would be proud of how well Gracie is adhering to her care plan — and her teeth! — Scott Ferguson, RRT



Draeger, along with ICON, helped celebrate RC Week by hosting daily webinars on contemporary clinical topics, with complimentary CRCE credits. Throughout the week, webinars were offered several times per day to accommodate day, evening, and night shifts. — Ed Coombs, MA, RRT-NPS-ACCS

Carolinas Rehabilitation, Charlotte, NC

Carolinas Rehabilitation

We had a department meeting with almost our entire department! We actually work in two different locations, one in Charlotte and one in Mount Holly, so we don't all get to see each other very often. We had a pot luck supper and our director, Jackie Kohler, presented each of us with a jacket. Here you can see all of us modeling our new jackets! — Becky Johnson, BSRT, RRT, RCP

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

For one of the RC Week days, several of our managers made these “RT Owls.” The bags were filled with various goodies and were hand-delivered to each RT during his/her working shift. – Garry Kauffman, MPA, RRT, FAARC, FACHE

Community Memorial Healthcare, Marysville, KS

Community Memorial Healthcare

Community Memorial Healthcare celebrated Respiratory Care Week with two luncheon/in-services provided to staff by vendors; a jelly bean (sputum) guessing contest; and an open house to promote the field of respiratory therapy, COPD awareness, smoking cessation, and education about different respiratory diseases. — Cheryl Skinner, BA, RRT

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ

Newark Beth Isreal Medical Center

Respiratory Care Week was celebrated with activities ranging from a full day seminar and celebratory meals to two exceptional new additions, an “Ice Cream Social” and relaxing massage sessions with our own Ron Joseph. Raffles, gifts, and culinary treats were shared, as posters and banners decorated NBI Medical Center to educate and increase awareness of lung health issues. Department Director Robert B. Sigler expressed satisfaction over the outcome of this year’s week-long celebration. “I have the privilege and honor of working with an amazing team of professionals every day,” he said. — Ellen Calefati, RRT-NPS, RPFT, AE-C

University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD

University of Maryland Medical Center

UMMC held several activities to honor our respiratory therapists but also to give back to the community and increase awareness of respiratory care. A Respiratory Choice Awards Dinner was held for the therapists, as well as a managers breakfast — the management team actually cooked the staff breakfast! Additionally, we offered educational outreach to the community about asthma, COPD, and smoking at Lexington Market in Baltimore. Overall, several fundraising events were hosted, including UMMC's 3rd Annual ARCF Ventilator 5K, a bake sale, and a night out at a local comedy club. Together these events raised over $5,100. — Maria Madden, BS, RRT

New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, NY

New York Methodist Hospital

We celebrated RC Week at our annual luncheon, where staff were pictured with an exhibit of historical respiratory care equipment and a proclamation that we received from Marty Markowitz, the president of the borough of Brooklyn, congratulating us on National Respiratory Care Week. – Felix Khusid, BS, RRT-NPS, FAARC

Keokuk Area Hospital, Keokuk, IA

Keokuk Area Hospital

Our small hospital has been going through some tough financial times the last few years. So this year we wanted to do something to thank the local industries for sticking by our side. Representatives from local business and industry participated in a hot air blow out competition during Lung Health Day at our hospital. We did peak flows and each industry sent two representatives. The team with the highest score won. The combined competition was won by the Keokuk Fire Department team. The individual winner with the highest score came from Keokuk Steel Castings. We had a gift sack of goodies for each participant and a winner’s certificate for the team winners. Our CEO took a few minutes prior to the contest to thank the teams and to let them know that they help us succeed! It was a great day. — Donna Myers, BS, RRT, RPST, RST

Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY

Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center

During Respiratory Care Week 2012, our department offered two mornings of inservice educational programs (for 1 CEU), but five days of catered appreciation breakfasts. Lunch was served on the last day as well. In addition, on Friday, 10/29, we highlighted the week-long festivities by staffing an informational display table in the lobby of our medical center. The display featured educational materials, two ventilators, an intubation mannequin, sleep diagnostics, promotion of the profession, and a video that displayed the department therapists “in action.” All department staff were given a Respiratory Care Week T-shirt and a “dedicated to every breath you take” pin. — Leon Lebowitz, BA, RRT

University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, San Antonio, TX

University of Texas Health Science Center

Our students and faculty at UTHSCSA took RC Week very seriously! The week started off with a “Crazy Sock Day” that brought lots of attention to our RT program/department from people outside our department and visitors to the school who stopped our students to find out more about why they were wearing the “Crazy Socks.” That led to a conversation about respiratory care and what respiratory therapists do. The following day they dressed as “Nerds,” again garnering attention and allowing them another opportunity to talk about RC. We had a “Fun Hat Day” as well. Faculty took RC Week balloons and treats to the university president’s office to thank them for the support of our RC program. The slogan, “Celebrate Respiratory Care Week…Every Breath Counts” was displayed on the marquee in front of school the entire week as well! — Mary K. Hart, MS, RRT, AE-C, FAARC

Weatherford College, Weatherford, TX


Our second year respiratory care students set up an information booth to showcase respiratory care and raise money for a local asthma camp, “Camp Broncho.” — Christel Brenner, RRT-NPS

Pitt Community College, Greenville, NC

Pitt Community College

We held an open house in our department so the students could show off what they are learning to prospective students and others already enrolled in other health science curriculums. Students also participated in a team-based learning simulation at Brody School of Medicine on Oct. 26. More than 80 people participated, including RNs, MDs, and my RT students. The residents and nurses learned a lot about what we do and how we work as a team. It was a great learning experience for all involved. — Wendy W. Ayscue, MAEd, RRT, RCP

RI Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Providence, RI

Rhode Island

Staff came together during Respiratory Care Week to put on an informational fair pertaining to the clinical practices within our department. The staff also made up raffle baskets to help benefit our Hasbro Asthma Camp and the Cystic Fibrosis Clinic. We raised over $1000 by the end of the week. We all had fun and everyone became more aware of the critical role the respiratory department plays in producing quality outcomes for our patients. Pictured are Andrea Gilli, Angela Gasparri, and April Salcedo. — Angela Wilson Gasparri, RRT-NPS, CPFT, AE-C

Columbia State Community College, Columbia, TN

Columbia State CC

The sophomores at Columbia State decided to celebrate Respiratory Care Week this year with a Halloween themed open house. The theme was “Respiratory Scare Week.” The grim reaper walked around campus testing students’ SpCO with the Masimo oximeter. (I thought they should have handed out business cards from the local funeral home for those with high values.) A second grim reaper carried the sign, “I Croaked ‘Cause I Smoked.” Somehow Santa even showed! Another student created a “Cigarette Cemetery” with pictures of famous people who died of lung cancer. Students could practice drawing blood from our “I want your blood” ABG arm display or try their hand at intubation. The more adventurous students could put on an NIV mask hooked up to the V-60 bipap machine. The timid could always go to the student center and talk with RC students and try out the Vest, enter the peak flow contest, or hook themselves up to an ECG monitor. Of course, there were lots of refreshments; the Foley bag juice was great! — R. David Johnson, RRT

Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT

Manchester CC

Students created an informational table with the theme of “Who Are We.” They demonstrated mucus clearing techniques, hazards of smoking, intubation, and mechanical ventilation, and created a very inspiring video. There was a buzz about the campus where the students had their table. — Kerry McNiven, MS, RRT

Kendall Regional Medical Center, Miami, FL

Kendall Regional Medical Center

RTs at Kendall Regional Medical Center in Miami had not celebrated RC Week for some time. We changed that this year! We are a multicultural group so we celebrated with an international pot luck, a feast of Cuban roast pork and black beans and rice, chicharrones, a taco buffet, and even chicken necks from Haiti! We also raised awareness of our profession in the hospital through a bulletin board display and table tents in the cafeteria. We are all proud to be respiratory therapists. — Yvonne Lamme, MHA, RRT