Respiratory Care Week started in the 1980s to help American RTs celebrate their profession. These days, it’s an international affair, with therapists in countries worldwide gathering just as their American counterparts do to shine the spotlight on respiratory care.
Here are just a few of the international celebrations that went on during our latest RC Week in October —
Members of the Indian Association of Respiratory Care (IARC) tied RC Week to their professional organization with the slogan, “India Celebrates #RCWeek 21 with IARC,” according to International Council for Respiratory Care (ICRC) Governor Jithin K. Sree, BScRT, MScRT, FISQua, FNIV (PhD). In addition, they included tags on all of their social media and video posts for the week to the official IARC social media channels, and several posts also had AARC and NBRC tags.
The events were vast and varied, ranging from one-day conferences and a week-long webinar series to in-house training and awareness programs, fun competitions and cultural events, student activities, and social gatherings. The IARC even hosted flash mobs and public awareness and public counseling programs.
They received great feedback for the work they do for patients every day, too, from many governmental and non-governmental organizations. You can view all of their programs on their YouTube channel.
Manjush Karthika, PhD, FISQUa, program lead and assistant professor of respiratory care at Khawarizmi International College in Abu Dhabi, said respiratory therapists played a vital role in caring for COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic. He further noted that his college, the only higher education institution in the UAE to offer a bachelor’s degree in respiratory care, was pleased to celebrate therapists during RC Week.
The group held an opening ceremony on Oct. 24 attended by leaders from hospitals across the country. It included a short video that highlighted the role of the RT on the health care team, and they involved students, inviting them to present some of their craftwork, poster presentations, and even a talent show.
Community engagement highlighted the rest of the week, as staff and students went out to high schools and other venues to educate about lung health, COVID-19 awareness, and CPR. Dr. Karithika says it was very well received and appreciated, including by governmental and non-governmental organizations alike.
Respiratory therapists in Ghana decided to use RC Week this year to raise awareness of the profession in the country’s health care facilities. They shared their events and programs with all on social media.
Ghana Association for Respiratory Care President Dorothy Honny Bendah spent a lot of time with respiratory care students during the week, providing them with respiratory care simulations aimed at enhancing their skills. “We are hoping to do further activities and programs for the next Respiratory Care Week in 2022,” she said.
Pakistan has celebrated RC Week since 2017, and the enthusiasm has grown year by year. This year, public and private hospitals and several universities all got into the act, said ICRC Governor for Pakistan Muhammad Shoukat, BSRT, RT, RCP. In addition to holding respiratory conferences, they offered their annual masterclass and seminars on topics important to RTs; therapists also hosted a cake-cutting ceremony and a healthy walk.
They also turned to social media to get the word out about the profession and offered free pulmonary function testing. “Respiratory therapists have gained considerable recognition in Pakistan due to the national respiratory care week celebration,” said Shoukat.
RTs from all over Oman gathered at the Grand Hyatt Muscat for a special celebration of RC Week hosted by the country’s minister of health. The educational session included a luncheon where therapists were honored for their efforts. After two years of hard work on the pandemic, Khalsa Al Siyabi, BsRC, RCP, ICRC governor for Oman, said everyone was super excited to celebrate the week and receive the kudos they deserved.
Each RT in Oman received a “star crystal,” which recognized therapists as the “star of this year.” They also received a certificate signed by the minister. Since COVID-19 numbers had begun to decline by the end of October, Al Siyabi said that the celebration was both a time to recognize RTs and feel hopeful about the future.
According to ICRC Governor for The Philippines Noel S. Tiburcio, PhD, MBA, RTRP, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC, RC Week was celebrated in hospitals throughout his country, but one stands out from the crowd. Michael Jorge Fulgencio, the senior RT at Jose B. Lingad Memorial Hospital in San Fernando City and the recipient of the Most Outstanding Respiratory Therapist for 2021 in The Philippines award, hosted a week-long event featuring several educational activities.
The theme was “Breathe, Live and Believe . . . Once a Respiratory Therapist Strives, a Life Survives.” Topics covered during the week went from updates on COVID-19 ventilator management strategies to the latest in COPD and smoking cessation and the respiratory therapist’s role in the care of the tracheostomy patient. A lecture and demonstration involving the high flow nasal cannula were held, and staff members received a shirt specially designed to honor the life of an RT,
“On behalf of the respiratory therapists in the Philippines, I would like to thank every respiratory therapist around the globe for all their hard work, sacrifices, and dedication in fulfilling their roles and responsibilities as one of the leading medical frontliners,” said Dr. Tiburcio.
Thanks for joining us!
The AARC thanks all of these international RTs and the other international respiratory care providers who celebrated Respiratory Care Week this year. They, too, exemplify the resilience, strength, and hope that has driven therapists here in the U.S. over these past two challenging years of the pandemic.
To learn more about the profession’s international community, visit the International Council for Respiratory Care website.
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