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AARC Members Bring Breath to Life During RC Week 2013

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November 5, 2013

This year’s National Respiratory Care Week brought out the best in AARC members across the country and around the world, as they pulled their resources together to honor the therapists working in their facilities and educate the public about lung disease. Here are just some of their stories—  

UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA

UCLA Ronald Reagan

We had a very dynamic Respiratory Care Week with Lunch and Learn sessions all week long and a retirement party for one of our long standing employees. We culminated the week on Saturday with a DRIVE4COPD screening at a hospital sponsored event that focused on the 60+ crowd. We screened and spoke to 40 individuals and were able to impact a few families with our smoking cessation programs. All in all it was a very positive and exciting week for our staff. — Jeffrey Davis, BS, RRT

Laurel Business Institute, Uniontown, PA

Laurel Business Institute

Our students participated in two separate events where they conducted COPD screenings for the DRIVE4COPD campaign. They partnered with the RT department at a local hospital to conduct screenings and promote COPD awareness in the hospital lobby as well as at their school Health Fair. The students were recognized for all of their hard work with an RC Week luncheon, where they proudly wore their AARC shirts! — April Butchki, MEd, RRT, CPFT

San Francisco General Hospital, San Francisco, CA


We celebrated by educating patients and co-workers about lung health. We set up tables in the hospital lobby and provided information about asthma, COPD, smoking cessation, obstructive sleep apnea, and pulse oximetry. It was a huge success and we noted over 200 encounters where an attendee spoke with a registered respiratory therapist about the above mentioned conditions. We also put up posters in the hospital corridor educating staff and the public about what an RT does. This year our theme was “We Put The Care In Respiratory Care.” -- Eula Lewis, RRT, CTTS

Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, IL

Advocate Christ Medical Center

The adult respiratory care department and PF lab decided that in addition to celebrating throughout the week, we would help others less fortunate than ourselves. Led by associates, our Unit Practice Council held a department food drive to benefit a local food pantry. To make it more interesting, we encouraged friendly competition between the shifts to see which shift could bring in the most pounds of food per associate. By the end of the week, the 3-11 shift brought in the most food, but in reality, we all won because we were able to donate 386 pounds of food. — Sandra Quillin, RRT

San Antonio Military Medical Center, Ft. Sam Houston, TX

San Antoinio Military Medical Center

RT students and staff put together a great informational display to educate their fellow military members about the profession. — Harry Román, MA, RRT

Good Samaritan Hospital, Vincennes, IN

Good Samaritan Hospital

Our respiratory care department kicked off RC Week with a proclamation presented to our department by the mayor and we also celebrated with daily activities, meals, and education. The hospital display case was decorated to announce the week and was also used to publicize our four respiratory therapist award winners: Therapist of the Year, Leadership, Brightest Beacon, and Rookie of the Year. Every staff member also received a gift certificate to be redeemed for merchandise either in our gift shop or for hospital logo items in our marketing department. -- Janet M. Sievers, RRT

Wesley Medical Center, Wichita, KS

Wesley Medical Center

Department activities included a pizza party provided by our medical director, a scavenger hunt, word puzzles, and a “Guess the #ABGs Kits in the Jar” contest. The RTs created a bulletin board display and gave out “breath” mints (Lifesavers, of course) in the hospital cafeteria and in administration. -- Debbie Fox, MBA, RRT-NPS, FAARC

Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, NC

Catawba Valley Community College

We held a lung health and DRIVE4COPD event at Valley Nursing Center in Taylorsville, NC. Valley is a long-term ventilator unit with about 40 ventilated patients so our students helped educate the public about smoking cessation since smoking contributed to many of these patients being ventilator-dependent. AARC student members Autumn Bryant and Erin Tucker are pictured at the event with one of their instructors. — Catherine Bitsche, EdS, RRT-NPS, RCP

Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC

Our RC Week Committee pulled off a great feat by getting the DRIVE4COPD NASCAR car to come to our hospital to help raise awareness of COPD. Drew Almond, RRT, did a wonderful job sharing information about COPD and the DRIVE campaign in this video on our local ABC-TV station. — Susan Gallo, MEd, RRT, CTTS, FAARC

El Camino Hospital, Mountain View, CA

El Camino Hospital

We enjoyed many activities all week. Themed RC buttons with a banner decorated the department, we sponsored an RT Trivia Quiz and held a bake-off, and we arranged for a public display with a manikin wearing a CPAP mask connected to a home CPAP machine. Disease information, department services, and a description of what a respiratory therapist does were also displayed.

Medical staff gave several short presentations, meals were provided for each shift, and the energy continued with the second annual RT Olympics: clever and silly game stations where teams raced against the clock using respiratory items in fun situations. It also turned out to be a reunion with retired RCPs! — Kathryn Ann Carpenter, BA, RRT, RCP

UC San Diego Health System, San Diego, CA

UC San Diego Health System

UC San Diego Health System had a complete week of activities and food for Respiratory Care Week. Award ceremonies were held recognizing the Employee of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and 12 All Stars at both of our sites. Events included Respiratory Jeopardy, a salsa tasting contest, guessing the amount of candy in the jar, guessing the accuracy of true or false statements about our peers, and raffles held every shift. Monies earned through our Annual RC Conference provided food for all shifts throughout the week. We also let our hair down and performed the “Harlem Shake.” Our Partners and Leadership Committee members documented the fun in these two videos: UCSD RT Harlem Shake and UCSD Harlem Shake Outtakes — Jan Phillips-Clar , BS, RRT, RCP, FAARC

Blessing Hospital, Quincy, IL

Blessing Hospital

We have some talented RTs at Blessing. One of our RTs made a cake, another decorated a message board in the department, and another had a spouse make a stained glass picture. We selected a Respiratory Care Excellence winner from among five RTs who were nominated by their peers for the award, and we also had a drawing for a stethoscope. One lucky person won an AARC membership as well. — Jolene Beaber, RRT

Prince Sultan Military College of Health Sciences, Saudi Arabia

Prince Sultan Military College

We visited Dhahran high schools where we offered two full days of basic life support and spirometry. Twenty-eight respiratory therapists participated, along with 86 students and teachers. The program started with a short seminar followed by a short clip that showed some cases and how to deal with them. Also, there were three major stations, beginning with a station about the RC profession. The second station was for spirometry and the last station featured nine workshops on adult, pediatric, and neonatal respiratory care. — Mohammed AlAhmari, PhD, MSc, RRT

Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV

Wheeling Jesuit University

RT students at WJU hosted a DRIVE4COPD screening day in our campus coffee shop and outside the main dining hall. — Marybeth Emmerth, MS, RRT, CPFT

PA College of Health Sciences, Lancaster, PA

PA College of Health Sciences

Each year the respiratory program chair makes hundreds of lung cookies for health care students at the college. This year’s cookie disease…  Pulmonary Emboli. Students also demonstrated normal lungs and smoker lungs to other students and explained their role in mechanical ventilation and what is meant by “coughing up a lung.” — David Zobeck, RRT, CPFT

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Richmond, VA

Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU respiratory therapists celebrated RC Week as RC Minions with their Minion Trached Pumpkin. — Peggy Eckert, RRT-NPS

Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center, Hartsville, SC

Carolina Pines Regional Medical Center

Every year our department does something to recognize the outstanding job we feel we all do throughout the year! Each day of the week we have a schedule of events or a reminder in some way. Some days it is a paid lunch/dinner from some of the doctors at our facility; other days some of us bring in small gifts, desserts, breakfast items, etc. We all come up with an idea for a t-shirt and then wear the shirt during the week.

This year the ICU department had a hot dog dinner for us and also put together a board as you entered the unit with a variety of our pictures, titled “Who’s Who in Respiratory.” We recognized RT students at Florence Darlington Technical College as well.

I’m very thankful to be a respiratory therapist and one at such a great hospital! We aren’t just coworkers here, we’re like family, always remembering the hard work and dedication we all put into making a great team of care. — Rhonda Melton, CRT, RCP

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

RI Hospital/Hasbro Children's Hospital

What a great time we had here at RI Hospital celebrating Respiratory Care Week. Sarah Trudell, CRT, respiratory therapist, and Jacqueline Barbaria, RRT, clinical educator, lead our team, along with many others, in the celebration of teamwork to promote the quality of care for all ages.

This year the therapists came together and made up wonderful baskets to raffle off and they inspired others to play our famous straw game. While having fun they promoted COPD awareness and the Hasbro Children’s asthma camp. Here at RI Hospital/Hasbro Children’s Hospital, the therapists are taking the extra step towards redefining our service of excellence towards quality of care. — Angela Wilson Gasparri, BIS, RRT-NPS, CPFT, AE-C

Columbia State Community College, Columbia, TN

Columbia State Community College

We set up tables in the student center and talked to students about lung health and the respiratory care program. Respiratory care students did peak flow testing on students, and had students put on the Vest and breathe on an IPV unit. They also showed lung samples. On the last day of the week the president of the college, Dr. Janet Smith, took a lesion from a sophomore, Jessica Welsh, on intubation using the Glide-Scope. — R. David Johnson, RRT 

Saint Anthony’s North, Westminster, CO

Saint Anthony's North

Here at Saint Anthony’s North, we had information on respiratory diseases and vendors came in all week for patients, associates, staff, and community members. Respironics, ResMed, Apria, Preferred Home Care, and Major Medical were on hand to check CPAP pressures, review CPAP/BIPAP systems and masks, and view the Respira vest. We also shared information on COPD programs. Respiratory students from PIMA and Concorde performed PFT screens and oximetry, lots of information was handed out, and fun was had by all. — Christy Baker-Eble, BS, CRT

University of Missouri Columbia Respiratory Therapy Program at Mercy Hospital St. Louis

University of Missouri Columbia Respiratory Therapy Program

Senior respiratory therapy students from the University of Missouri Columbia promoted Respiratory Care Week at Mercy Hospital St. Louis by handing out brochures and flyers about asthma, respiratory disease prevention, and hand hygiene. Students also gave away hand-made lung pins for employees and visitors to wear in honor of Respiratory Care Week. AARC members in this picture are, from left to right, front row, students Allie Minzer, Kristina Burns, and Brittany Hutchings, and back row, clinical instructors Ann Rolfes and Karen McAllister — Karen McAllister, BHS, RRT, AE-C

MSSU/Franklin Technology Center Consortium for Respiratory Care, Joplin, MO


We set-up an informational table on campus, had the students create public service announcements to be shown on local television, and hosted a Community Open House with free screenings that included DRIVE4COPD, alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, PFT, MDI instruction, and BP, HR, and pulse oximetry. Seven students volunteered to help with the event. — Sherry Whiteman, BS, RRT

University of Chicago Medicine, Chicago, IL

University of Chicago Medicine

We took a group picture with our facility’s president, vp of patient care services/CNO, and chief medical officer. We also held ten inservices, enjoyed a pot luck day, sponsored three themed-days, and took candid pictures of staff accepting RCS awards! We helped in a blood drive as well and took up a collection and made a donation to a CF/lung transplant patient and family. — Steve Mosakowski, MBA, RRT-NPS, CPFT

Weatherford College, Weatherford, TX

Weatherford College

Our second year students set up an information table to explain what respiratory care is all about. Their creativity was shown through one-of-a-kind brochures designed to inform other students about the job outlook for respiratory therapists, disease education, degrees, salary analysis, and smoking/tobacco cessation. Students also took donations to raise money for Camp Broncho, an asthma camp that is sponsored and staffed by a local children’s hospital. I believe this is the way to celebrate Respiratory Care Week, by PROMOTING our profession! — Christel Brenner, RRT-NPS

Palos Community Hospital, Palos Heights, IL

Our therapists put together a traveling cart and took it to all areas of the hospital. Along with screenings they provided education to all staff and a chance to win a small prize by spinning a wheel. Prizes included breath mints, chocolates inscribed with the RC Week theme, and pens from the AARC. Table tents customized with RT statistics were also set up in our cafe. — Anna Molsen, RRT

Community Memorial Healthcare/KanQuit, Marysville, KS

Comunity Memorial Healthcare

Respiratory therapists and a representative from KanQuit provided a Lung Health Awareness Day to the hospital staff and to the public on Oct. 23. It included DRIVE4COPD screeners, lung health information, smoking cessation education, decorating lung cookies, games, and prizes. — Cheryl Skinner, BA, RRT, CPFT

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

National Institutes of Health

Despite the government shutdown, flat budget, and empty pockets, the administrative team got together to make daily treats for our staff. Sayings on the treats ranged from “You Were ‘Mint’ to be on Our Team” (for bags full of mints) to “I’m SODA-lighted you’re on my team! You are Fanta-stic!” (for bottles of Fanta soda pop). They were a big hit! — Nicole Sartain, BS, RRT

JFK Medical Center, Edison, NJ

JFK Medical Center

These caricatures were are drawn by one of our therapists who also happens to be a great artist. We had fun all week with food from vendors, t-shirts, a gift distribution, and more. — Sunny Kurisummoottil, RRT

Shawnee State University and Southern Ohio Medical Center, Portsmouth, OH

Shawnee State University

Students and instructors, along with representatives from Southern Ohio Medical Center, set up a large display in the lobby of the University Center on Oct. 24. The display included large inflatable lungs, teaching proper inhaler technique, information on the hazards of smoking and smoking cessation, and COPD education and information. They also offered free blood pressure checks, pulse oxygen level checks, and basic pulmonary function tests, plus lots of candy and homemade treats. This event was open to the public and we encouraged everyone to attend. — Amy France, MS, RRT

Okefenokee Technical College, Waycross, GA

Okefenokee Technical College

The respiratory care technology program hosted several events throughout the week. Booths were assembled at the college and in the local Walgreens Pharmacy and the local mall. These booths contained a variety of information pertaining to asthma and the hazards of smoking. Additionally, we sponsored a DRIVE4COPD event and a program information day at the college with an open house activity to promote program recruitment and awareness. With the assistance of the college public relations department all events were advertised in the media to surrounding counties and schools. It was a very exciting week. —Faye Mathis, EdD, RRT

Newman Regional Health, Emporia, KS

Newman Regional Health

The RT department celebrated all week with five CEUs and lunch provided for staff each day. Special permission from HR allowed staff to wear RT t-shirts all week. RT staff also celebrated by honoring other departments with surprise visits to deliver baskets of goodies to thank them for being part of the team — “paying it forward.” Staff completed quizzes for an upcoming survey and entered completed quizzes for drawings for items from the AARC Store. HR allowed staff to buy matching fleece jackets to wear with scrubs for the winter months as well. To top it all off a visit from Sen. Jerry Moran gave us the chance to lobby for HR 2619 on a first-hand basis. — Karen S. Schell, DHSc, RRT-NPS, RPFT, RPSGT, AE-C, CTTS

Southeastern Regional Medical Center, Lumberton, NC

Southeastern Regional Medical Center

We had good eats all week, along with a free CEU presentation. We also
received the 2014 Pulmonary Excellence award from Healthgrades. — Claudette McCallum, RRT, RCP

Las Vegas Veterans Hospital, Las Vegas, NV

Las Vegas Veterans Hospital

We hosted an informational table about respiratory care, and also showed off some of our equipment and a poster with photos of our staff. — Michael C. James, CRT

Cole Memorial Hospital, Coudersport, PA

Cole Memorial Hospital

Our professional campaign was focused not just on respiratory therapy but the elements of cardiopulmonary, as we work closely with our cardiology peers. We wanted to incorporate both into our week’s activities to provide an overview of the importance of heart and lung wellness and how they work hand-in-hand.

Our second focus was TeamSTEPPS education via a Jeopardy table, while challenging both our health care team members and visitors to Cole Memorial with specific lung and heart trivia for prizes. Our health system has put an emphasis on population health and wellness in our drive to improve awareness and outcomes.

Everyone across the health care spectrum had a great time with Cardiopulmonary Jeopardy, enduring spirometry to identify the person with the most “Hot Air” within our organization, while also taking a challenging informational quiz produced by our cardiologist, who also donated prizes for the winners. Every participant had a great time interacting informally and comically with our cardiopulmonary team and learned something new while doing so. — Scott Ferguson, RRT

Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA

Georgia State University

Students in the respiratory care program attended a pizza party and undergraduate and graduate students also competed in a respiratory care trivia contest and won door prizes and other giveaways to celebrate Lung Health Day. — Robert Harwood, MSA, RRT-NPS, FAARC

Manchester Community College, Manchester, CT

Manchester Community College

Sophomore respiratory care students held an event on Oct. 23 where they provided information about the profession, the effects of smoking, the cost of smoking, the benefits of quitting, and adjuncts to quitting. We had a walking cigarette on hand, complete with his own oxygen cylinder, as well as visuals on what happens to the fetuses of women who smoke while they’re pregnant. — Kerry J. McNiven, MS, RRT