The Thrill of Discovery: Kaitlyn Haynes, BS, RRT, RRT-NPS

Last December, Kaitlyn Haynes, BS, RRT, RRT-NPS, presented an abstract titled A Respiratory Therapist-Driven Asthma Pathway Reduces Hospital Length of Stay in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in the prestigious Editors’ Choice session at the OPEN FORUM in Las Vegas.

That topic is certainly fitting, given the pathway that led Haynes into the profession in the first place. It all started when she was just a little girl and her family would kid her about her future plans in life.

No joke!

“It started as a joke while growing up that I should be a respiratory therapist,” said Haynes, who works as a neonatal-pediatric therapist at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC. “I have severe asthma and had been in and out of the hospital quite often. RTs were my favorite people, giving me the treatments to breathe easier and being the first person telling me when I could eat again after continuous albuterol!”

Haynes says she loves being part of the team at Duke and helping kids get that same kind of quality patient care.

“I knew that I wanted to help people breathe easier, as I personally knew what it was like to not be able to myself,” she said. “Seeing children come in and watching their progress and improvement is so fulfilling and inspirational.”

Getting involved in clinical research was a natural extension of that mindset. “I became interested in research when I felt like I could be doing more for our patients and care team,” she said. “I wondered if some of the things we do clinically are the best practice and helpful for getting our patients the best care.”

Perfect topic

She decided to join the department’s research committee and see how she could translate her interest in the area into something more concrete. It wasn’t long before the perfect topic presented itself.

“We had implemented a respiratory therapist-driven asthma protocol a few years ago at Duke, and the members of our research team thought it would be interesting to see if there was a benefit or improvement through utilizing this protocol,” said Haynes.

Getting started proved to be the most challenging aspect.

“I think the hardest part of research is the beginning — figuring out all of the information you would like to gather to get the best information to be able to see and tell the full story,” she said. “Once the processes and team are organized, everything seems to fall into place.”

Bringing the study to fruition was definitely the most rewarding. Haynes says knowing her results are helping to improve care for patients and push for the best treatments is invaluable.

Her best advice

Kaitlyn Haynes’ best advice for anyone thinking about conducting a clinical research study: Ask for help, and know you don’t have to do everything alone. It is so helpful to reach out and lean on those who are familiar with research development and operations.

The 2019 OPEN FORUM will take place at the AARC Congress in New Orleans, Nov. 9-12. Abstracts are being accepted now through June 1.