In the News

National Respiratory Care Week: Your 2009 Events & Activities

November 24, 2009

This year’s National Respiratory Care Week took place Oct. 25–31, and AARC members all across the nation used the occasion to shine the spotlight on their departments and their profession.

Who did what where? Take a look at the events and activities reported by your fellow AARC members—

Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center, Baton Rouge, LA
We held a respiratory fair in our auditorium to expose nursing and the other clinical areas to our scope of practice. We had our vendors come in and set up booths and provide education on their products; this was supplemented by the RT staff. We had over 400 staff members attend, and everyone enjoyed the food and door prizes as well as the education.—Adam North

Great Plains Pulmonary Rehabilitation, North Platte, NE
We marked the week by sending out a press release to our local media highlighting our pulmonary rehabilitation patients, who had great things to say about how our program has helped them cope with their respiratory conditions. Charles Foster, for one, told how he was celebrating the week by enjoying his newfound ability to tie his shoes without gasping for air. Scott Allison said he was celebrating the fact that our program has left him a lot stronger physically than when he first started three years ago. And Jim White noted he was celebrating just being able to reach down and pick things up, or walk to his kitchen. “If anyone had told me two years ago what a difference this would make in my life and how much better I’d feel, I would’ve told them they were a liar,” he was quoted as saying.—Sharron Nejedly, RRT

Holy Rosary Healthcare, Miles City, MT
On Monday we set up a room with cake, punch, and a lot of our equipment for show and tell. We had our pictures taken for everyone to see. Tuesday we handed out “Respiratory” buttons, and on Wednesday we gave out candy pumpkins to all the staff. Our RT staff was also given “goodie bags” with cups, pins, key chains, etc.—Tina Webb, CRT, AE-C

Porter Adventist Hospital, Denver, CO
This year we decided to educate hospital staff, patients, and visitors about respiratory care. In our lobby we had displays of equipment, educational materials, and staff photos. We also provided free oxygen saturation and lung function testing as well as encouraged anyone to ask us questions regarding respiratory care.—Beau Ray Ziolkowski, RRT

St. John West Shore Hospital, Westlake, OH
Our main event was designed to promote a healthy lifestyle through a “Biggest Loser” contest. Participants throughout the institution were invited to enter for a fee of $20. The event will culminate in May, coinciding with the annual American Lung Association Lung Walk. The winner will receive half of the proceeds and the Lung Association will be presented with the other half.—Mark Scibbe, RRT

New York Methodist Hospital, Brooklyn, NY
Staff got a big surprise when a patient who had spent 60 days in the ICU and 89 in the hospital altogether came in carrying a special “Happy RC Week” cake for all. The gentleman recovered in large part due to a special critical care ventilator designed by Dr. Forrest Bird—and as luck would have it, many of us had just gotten the chance to see Dr. Bird in person at a meeting of the Southeastern Chapter of the New York State Society for Respiratory Care. The event drew more than 550 attendees, who came to see us present Dr. Bird with our Tree of Life award. Dr. Bird is the only person to ever receive the award twice.—Felix Khusid, RRT

Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, GA
We kicked things off with a barbeque on Saturday, then had a most excellent chili cook off, with all chili provided by RTs. The contest was judged by the MD/RN staff.—Clifton Dennis, RRT, AE-C

Eastern Maine Medical Center, Bangor, ME
We received a thank-you card signed by all the senior staff, and our mailboxes were filled with candy. We were also treated to lunch on Thursday, ice cream on Friday, and long sleeve t-shirts we can wear at work.—Deb Flint, RRT

Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital, Wyandotte, MI
We were very proud that our staff would think of others during their RC Week celebration. The respiratory care services department made baskets for a hospital-wide raffle, with proceeds going to the American Lung Association of Michigan. Our staff wanted to give something back to the community we serve.—Roland Leal, RRT

SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse, NY
Our faculty celebrated by teaching patients at an “Oxygen Awareness Night” co-sponsored by Franciscan Management Services and St. Joseph’s Hospital Health Center. Forty-seven patients on home oxygen learned more about topics like planning for travel. New equipment was demonstrated as well.—Joseph G. Sorbello, MSEd, RT, RRT

Draeger Medical, Telford, PA
Draeger offered educational webinars to their customers twice a day through ICON. Attendees were able to obtain CEUs covering the latest topics in mechanical ventilation at no charge.—Ed Coombs, RRT

Collinsville High School, Collinsville, TX
We published an RC Week Newsletter, with student articles on respiratory therapists, a breathing device used by asthmatics, and a cartoon that was respiratory-related. Students set up asthma education question boxes for student questions and read answers during announcements as well. We also designed no smoking posters and demoed PFM, MDI spacers, and incentive spirometers.—Michael William Stephens, CRT

Westchester Community College, Valhalla, NY
The Westchester Community College Club hosted it’s Annual RC Week Conference & Luncheon. Featured speakers were Jose Olivera, RRT-NPS (a new graduate who spoke on “Transition from Student to Worker”), Guy Singer BA, RRT( who spoke on “Ventilatory Support”), Giselle Morales (who spoke on “Student Government”), and Professor Michael Petrone, MPH, RRT-NPS, CPFT (who spoke on “Career Opportunities”). The event was coordinated by Club Officers Marlene Colon, Jacqueline O’Connor, Teddy Assante, and Teniesha Rice, along with Club Advisor Professor Mark Hanna, MA, RRT, and myself. The conference was well attended and everyone was well fed!—Jose Quinones, MS, RRT-NPS, RPFT

Spartanburg Community College, Spartanburg, SC
We showed our senior class the 20/20 interview with Dr. Bird. We also provided breakfast for both our freshman and senior classes, played respiratory jeopardy, and handed out prizes such as the RC Lunch Sack, RC Classic Lunch Cooler, RC Travel Wallet, and several RC Sling Backpacks.—Joel Livesay, MS, RRT, RVT

Brookdale College, Lincroft, NJ
Members of our student club set up an information table in the college’s student center, a high volume area on campus. Members worked the table, handed out information packets, and provided answers to any questions the students may have had. We also promoted our next event, the Great American Smokeout in November.—Daniel A. Swierk, student club president

WellStar Health System, Austell, GA
WellStar kicked off Respiratory Care Week by co-sponsoring a Volleyball Tournament with the Georgia Society for Respiratory Care aimed at benefiting the Bill Bitzel Education Fund. Teams from all over the Atlanta area participated. WellStar respiratory services also hosted a Lung Health Day at our assisted living facility, answering questions on exercise, diet, and medications. Our respiratory departments at each of our five facilities celebrated all week with therapist awards, videos, and food.—Karen Sicard, RRT

Mid-State Technical College, Marshfield, WI
Mid-State Technical College celebrated RC Week with a reception for Joe Conley, RRT, who received our Respiratory Therapist Outstanding Alumnus Award for 2009. Joe graduated from our program in 1999. His dedication to the field and to our program was recognized. He was employed as a staff therapist at Aspirus Wausau Hospital and as a clinical preceptor for the program. He is currently employed as a sales representative for Doctors Oxygen Service. Joe has been active in the Wisconsin Society for Respiratory Care, as well as in his community.—Barbara Hughes, MS, RRT

The Chester County Hospital, West Chester, PA
We had five sponsored Lunch & Learn events for the RCS staff. We also invited the president and CEO to speak with the staff to show his appreciation for all of their hard work. The CNO and director of critical care also attended to show their support.—Steve Mosakowski, MBA, RRT-NPS, CPFT

Lancaster General College of Nursing and Health Sciences, Lancaster, PA
As a new program, the RCP faculty made a poster and nearly 400 lung cookies for the college and hospital. Each lung cookie was frosted in a unique way to depict a specific lung disease. Pink was for normal lungs, pink with green in the lower lobe equaled pneumonia, pink with white lumps in the upper lobe illustrated lung cancer, pink with colored sprinkles was for sarcodosis with granulomas, pink with thin airways was for asthma, grey lungs denoted a smoker, solid yellow-green meant cystic fibrosis, white lungs depicted atelectasis, pink with a portion not frosted represented a pneumothorax, blue lungs with holes showed COPD emphysema, and any cookie that got broken represented flail chest.—David Zobeck, MM, RRT, CPFT

Bassett Healthcare, Richfield Springs, NY
We had several contests, including “dress the vent,” a slogan contest, a logo contest, and one called “tidbits about your co-workers” in which participants wrote a little something about themselves and others tried to guess who it was. RTs also brought in their baby pictures and we had to guess who they were. Even our medical director joined in. We had a lot of fun, and it lightened the mood for all. We also enjoyed some good food at a pot luck on the 29th and a lunch on the 27th.—Marjorie Miller, RRT

Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, IL
We placed a world map on the wall and had our RTs place a push pin on the map according to their heritage or state other than Illinois to celebrate our diversity! On Wednesday, each RT brought a dish typical to their ethnic or cultural community and we shared lunch and dinner together.—Rochelle R. Sisco, RRT, RCP

University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
The University of Missouri class of 2010 celebrated Respiratory Care Week by promoting the profession and helping the community. The group baked goodies for the local Ronald McDonald House, stuffed “buddy packs” for the local food bank, raised smoking cessation awareness, promoted the profession at two different career fairs, and held a bake sale. Pictured are Danny Lutz, Nick Beck, Tanesha Pearson, Diane Kohnen, Sarah Hoffman, Michelle Schulte, Jessica Schrimpf, Lori Griffith, Stephanie Grana, and Brittany Lincoln. Not pictured are Christa Hayeslip and Emilee Farris.—Shawna Strickland, RRT-NPS, AE-C

Iredell Memorial Hospital, Statesville, NC
Our respiratory care department celebrated with a delicious Chick-fil-A
meal brought in to us from an outside source. Our excellent department manager, Bob Noble, also announced plans to take all of the RTs out for
a nice dinner at a local steakhouse on November 11!—Yvonne Coaplen-Trice, CRT, RCP

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital, Ridgecrest, CA
We celebrated Respiratory Care Week with two catered luncheons and a very successful hospital-wide chili cook-off. There were awards and gifts for everyone, and we also bestowed our “Respiratory Care Practitioner of the Year Award.”—Roger L. Berg, PhD, RRT-NPS

Community Memorial Healthcenter, South Hill, VA
For Respiratory Care Week this year, we sponsored an asthma walk with all proceeds going to American Lung Association. We displayed information about asthma, including a poster featuring inhalers, an asthma action plan, and the use of peak flow meters and spacers. We offered pamphlets and were available to answer questions. The weather was sunny and 70 degrees, and the fall leaves were beautiful. Local businesses donated door prizes. We had free bottled water and homemade cookies for everyone. We did not have as many participants as we would have liked, but everyone seemed to have a good time. It was a great experience and we may do it again next year.—Sandra C. Pearce, MS, RRT, AE-C

Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Dallas, TX
I experienced my very first National Respiratory Care Week during my clinicals at Methodist Dallas Medical Center. They had contests and skills stations set up throughout the balloon-and-streamer-decorated department. As a student, I was exposed to all facets of the RT world, and I was as excited as a “kid in a candy store.” I knew at that point that I had chosen a career that would be not only a job, but a lifelong passion. The staff at Methodist made us feel the energy and excitement of National Respiratory Care Week. Thanks!—Vonetta R. Cartwright, El Centro respiratory care student

Mayo Clinic Arizona, Phoenix, AZ
We hosted a session called “Being the Best You Can Be...Professionally, Personally, and Clinically.” Keeping the topics of work/life balance and job satisfaction in mind, a variety of speakers presented a different topic each day. The professional presentation covered the process for submitting an abstract or topic for a local or AARC meeting. Recently presented posters were displayed and a mini “Open Forum” was held. The personal presentation covered teamwork, communication, and reducing stress. Marlene Dixon, RRT, presented an interactive session about the importance of respecting and understanding differences of team members. The clinical presentation featured Dr. Andrea Loiselle, who spoke on “Understanding H1N1,” explaining not only the clinical manifestations but the broader epidemiological and public health perspectives as well. The week culminated with a celebration of successes through the years featuring food, photos, and prizes.—Mary Jane Johnson, RRT

Montana State University Great Falls, Great Falls, MT
We were featured on the local news, and we also raised respiratory care awareness in local high schools and tobacco awareness in elementary schools. Therapist recognition displays were set up in the clinic and in a display case on campus.—Brian Cayko, MBA, RRT

Oktibbeha County Hospital, Starkville, MI
The respiratory care department was honored with lunch provided by area home care companies and vendors. Each staff member was given a gift cup full of goodies! Hospital staff had the opportunity to guess “who’s who” among the respiratory staff’s baby pictures. Winners were given door prizes. Patients, family members, visitors, and hospital staff members were also able to view a respiratory care education board with respiratory pamphlets provided. Respiratory staff members also supported Respiratory Care Week with one-of-a-kind respiratory t-shirts!—Lindsey Jenkins, RRT

Walgreens Respiratory Services, Ft. Myers, FL
Walgreens Respiratory Services celebrated by decorating the office and gathering members of all departments for photos. Respiratory therapists were recognized with gifts of AARC notebooks and lunch bags.—Dianne L. Lewis, MS, RRT, FAARC

Laurel Business Institute, Uniontown, PA
Respiratory therapy students at the Laurel Business Institute celebrated RC Week with a luncheon. The group wore t-shirts and pins they designed.—April Butchki, BS, RRT, CPFT

Newman Regional Health, Emporia, KS
We had a great Respiratory Care Week, with four CEUs for staff education, lunch provided six days for staff, an open house for the public and hospital employees, a live radio interview, an article in the hospital paper, and gift bags for the staff. The RT staff even recognized an ancillary department for their hard work with a gift basket.—Karen S. Schell, MHSc, RRT-NPS, RPFT, RPSGT, AE-C, CTTS

Itawamba Community College, Tupelo, MS
The mayor of Tupelo presented us with a document officially proclaiming RC Week in our city, and we issued a press release on the proclamation and the profession.—Jim Newell, MPA, RRT

College Station Medical Center, College Station, TX
Respiratory Care Week was celebrated each day of the week in an effort to recognize the respiratory care practitioners who serve our customers of all age groups 24/7 at College Station Medical Center. We had door prizes, hospital gifts, e-mail facts, and educational events that included an inhaler clinic. And oh yes—lots of food too! We also organized a two day pulmonary seminar on October 16 and 17 for 12 continuing education units. We have grown from a staff of nine in 2002 to 30 in 2009. Our active medical and administrative leadership has allowed this tremendous growth of services and employment within respiratory care.—Michael G. Nibert, BSRT, RRT

 Lone Star College Kingwood, Kingwood, TX
Our faculty hosted a buffet for both our day and evening classes. We held drawings every 15 minutes for various AARC items. Our program also made plans to spearhead Kingwood College’s Great Smoke Off, during which our students will share anti-smoking information using posters, videos, handouts, and street theater with walking “butt-heads.” This is to support the college’s ban on smoking on the campus.—Elizabeth Kelley Buzbee, RRT-NPS, RCP

Gaylord Hospital, Wallingford, CT
We celebrated with four “Lunch and Learn” opportunities for the therapists, and in support of the hospital’s smoke free initiative, hosted an information table providing resources for smoking cessation for the entire staff.—Geri Bernacki, RRT, and Donna T. Ward, RRT

Hartford Hospital, Hartford, CT
Students from Manchester Community College and the University of Hartford performed PFTs and CO monitoring on visitors and staff at the hospital. The annual bake sale and raffle to raise money for the CTSRC scholarship fund was also held, raising approximately $1000. Smoking cessation literature and education was provided to staff and visitors in preparation for Hartford Hospital’s smoke-free campus on Nov. 19.—Geri Bernacki, RRT

Indian River Medical Center, Vero Beach, FL
Respiratory Care Week at IRMC was especially memorable this year. In addition to the usual vendor lunches, dinners, and education, the department formed a scholarship in the memory of a long time co-worker, Patricia McQueen, who recently passed away from asthma. This scholarship will be awarded annually to one graduating respiratory therapist from Indian River State College. The department set a goal of $10,000, and to raise the money for our scholarship, we hosted a 5K race. To our astonishment, we raised $12,000, thus ensuring a lifetime endowment to help the students and community.—Don Magee, BS, RRT

St. Elizabeth Healthcare, Edgewood, KY
We celebrated with a catered breakfast and lunch every day. We also had several CRCE presentations, and we finished off the week with a home cooked pancake breakfast for the RT staff. Our managers were the cooks!—Mark Vargas, RRT

Illinois Society for Respiratory Care/University of Chicago Hospital, Chicago, IL
As Respiratory Care Week 2009 ended, I had time to just sit and meditate. The week started out full of excitement for me, as this would be my first RC Week as the ISRC president. To start the week, Governor Pat Quinn issued a proclamation to honor the event in the state of Illinois. I then went on to prepare the timeline for the week for events throughout the state; I got reports that the majority of our hospitals had made plans. Most hospitals not only had an “appreciation day” for their employees but they also gave out gifts and had potlucks.

On Wednesday—Lung Health Day—I spent the day at my facility, the University of Chicago Hospital, helping my coworkers set up an information table in the Duchossois Center for Advanced Medicine building. Handouts about asthma, COPD, RSV, cystic fibrosis, oxygen, smoking cessation, and H1N1 flu were available at the table. Many stopped to receive the literature and to ask questions. We also gave out beaded paper lungs that stated, “Helping to Promote Healthy Lungs.” Pictures of RTs doing their respective jobs throughout the hospital were also on display, along with a copy of the governor’s proclamation.—Audrea Hardwicks-Williams, BS, RRT, RCP

Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ
Respiratory Care Week at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center was celebrated with activities ranging from educational sessions to a full day seminar. The 6th Annual Fall Seminar, attended by over 150 nurses and therapists from the surrounding area, featured presentations on “Surviving Sepsis,” “Health Care Associated Viral Infections,” “The Three W’s Of Lung Transplant,” “Clinical Assisted Tobacco Cessation,” and “The ‘New’ Basics of Mechanical Ventilation.” We also had raffles, gifts, and culinary treats, and we decorated various areas of the medical center to increase awareness of lung health issues. Table tents depicting respiratory therapy in action were placed on cafeteria tables to promote the importance of lung health and build understanding of diseases and conditions that adversely affect healthy lungs. During the meal celebrations, therapists were asked to share an interesting or informative experience from their attendance at the NJSRC Annual Shore Conference of the previous week.

This year’s celebration coincided with the medical center’s Clean Air for Healthcare campaign. November 19 marks the day that the facility campus will become smoke free. An office of the Institute for Prevention’s Tobacco Quit Center is functioning in the building, with specialty services offered by a tobacco dependence treatment specialist. Respiratory therapists are an integral part of the effort, serving in a supportive and promotional role.

Robert B. Sigler, MBA, RRT, FACHE, director of respirator therapy, neurodiagnostics, and the Sleep Disorders Center, summed up the week, “Therapists took time to learn and participate in the activities. This was a great opportunity for them to showcase their professional spirit. The department is strongly committed to providing the best available clinical expertise.”—George Thumpayil, RRT-NPS, CPFT

Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, WV
Our 838-bed, three hospital system celebrated RC Week this year with a variety of activities, including posters, a badge holder give-away, a breakfast prepared by our supervisors, an awards program called “ Respiratory Care Superlatives,” a basket give-away featuring five different themed baskets, a breakfast provided by hospital administration, a popcorn give-away, a Respiratory Happy HalloWheeze Contest, and a picnic. We also held a Respiratory Care Olympics where teams from our three hospitals competed in events ranging from “Bird Flu vs. Swine Flu” to “Sputum by the Spoonful.” Many thanks to our Respiratory Care Employee Relations Committee, respiratory care staff, physicians, and all the others who helped make CAMC Respiratory Care Week a success. It’s a Total Team Effort!—Tracy Matthews, MBA, RRT

Carteret Community College, Morehead City, NC
The Student Government Association hosted a “Trunk or Treat” activity for students, family and friends, and staff and faculty of Carteret Community College. The respiratory therapy students, through the Respiratory Care Club, took advantage of this event to spread the word about respiratory therapy. They set up an information table to provide information about respiratory therapy and acknowledge the fact that it was Respiratory Care Week. They had a great time, and this first year group really enjoyed talking about the respiratory therapy profession.—Trisha Miller, BS, CPFT, RRT, RCP

Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ
Our senior respiratory therapy students worked at tables set up outside our busy cafeteria on Wednesday from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. providing valuable information from the AARC about lung health, smoking, and asthma. In addition, they performed peak flow testing and PFT testing using computerized machines, and promoted the profession to both students and faculty. The faculty of the program bought lunch for all to enjoy.—Amy Ceconi, PhD, RRT-NPS, RPFT

McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center, Richmond, VA
The respiratory care department at McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center has been celebrating National Respiratory Care Week for the 28 years that I’ve been on staff. Howard Byrd, MS, RRT-NPS, RPFT, chief of respiratory care, served as a combat medic in Vietnam and has dedicated many years of service to the veterans. He insists that we provide education, food, and fun for the staff each year to show our appreciation for their hard work.

We kicked off the week by having Lois Rowland, BSRT, RRT-NPS, RPFT, from the Virginia Society Respiratory Care, speak to us about the “Future of Respiratory Care.” Other lectures were given by local physicians and on the last day of the week, management showed its appreciation to the staff with awards, acknowledgements and commendations. All of this hard work and persistence in preparing for RCW would not be accomplished if not for our Howard Byrd. We want to thank him for appreciating us and making sure that all our educational needs are met so that we can better serve those that have served and protected this great nation. He believes that the veteran deserves the best and that teamwork along with education is an important part of a successful respiratory care department.—Lisa M. Shifflett, RRT

Carteret General Hospital, Morehead City, NC
Our theme focused on “Celebrating 50 Years of Service.” We celebrated by hosting educational activities for the entire hospital staff. Thanks to some very talented staff members, namely Jamie Edwards, our department was decorated completely in the style of the 1950s. Our patient waiting area was transformed into a real 1950s diner that served 15 cent cheeseburgers, with entertainment provided by a “handmade” jukebox that played all the oldies. Believe it or not, we had a drive-in theater right in the department. We even served hot, fresh, popcorn! One wall proudly displayed the complete history of respiratory care. Patients, visitors, staff, and students alike enjoyed the celebration.—Gaye Fulcher