This is Why I’m Thankful to Be an RT

image of fall foilage with GIVE THANKS written with stamps

Americans everywhere will be giving thanks for all kinds of things on November 22, but, for many, their jobs won’t be at the top of the list. According to a Gallup study released in 2017, fully two-thirds of Americans report being disengaged at work.

Are respiratory therapists among them? Not if you believe the RTs we talked to for this article. They WILL be putting their jobs up near the top of their thankful lists this holiday season.

Patients and families lead the way

“Respiratory therapy has come a long way since I graduated,” said John Priest, BSRT, RRT, RRT-NPS, an ECMO specialist II at Boston Children’s Hospital in Boston, MA. “It is with pride that I see my profession moving forward and encompassing new technology and skill.”

Priest says he’s thankful for being able to train, learn, and teach in one of the best hospitals in the country and he’s also thankful for his coworkers, who he says constantly challenge him to become better at what he does.

But the families who benefit from his care earn a special spot on his list. “I am thankful for the families that trust me in taking care of their children during their sickest times,” he said.

Jenni Raake, MBA, RRT, RRT-NPS, FAARC, from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, OH, cites the incredible growth the profession has seen over her three decades in the field as reason enough to be thankful as well, noting with this growth has come the recognition that respiratory care provides tremendous value to patients and the health care community alike.

“I am thankful that this same profession has given so much to me, both professionally and personally,” she said. “I am thankful that this profession has become a way that I can help meet the needs of my patients and their families.”

Not “just a job”

Dan Rowley, MSc, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, RPFT, FAARC, says he’s proud to be an RT with specialized knowledge and skills that can contribute to improved outcomes, health care provider education, and an ability to make a significant difference in the lives of people he serves every day.

“The unpredictability of each day, ability to work with cutting-edge medical technology, and working as a valued and high-functioning team member that helps patients and their loved ones get through a difficult time enforces my commitment to life-long-learning and passion for the art and science of respiratory care,” said the adult clinical coordinator at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville.

The results of his actions are reward enough for him.

“There is nothing more satisfying to me than seeing patients’ quality of life improve, students’ confidence improve as they appropriately apply new knowledge and skill during clinical rotations, and respiratory care research having a meaningful impact,” Rowley said.

For Jon Inkrott, RRT, RRT-ACCS, a flight therapist for Florida Flight 1 out of Florida Hospital-Orlando, thanks are in order for all the great friends and RT family he’s had the privilege of working with over the years.

“We have some amazing minds at work treating patients, doing research, educating our future therapists, and leading our profession into the next chapters of our existence,” he said. “My parents always expressed to me ‘you are the company you keep,’ and for all of them, I am thankful.”

Having a job that’s not “just a job” means the world to him too.

“When I chose this career over 25 years ago, I wanted to be part of a team that made a difference in people’s lives,” Inkrott said. “We don’t perform ‘just a job.’ We are one of the most important pieces of an interprofessional team that changes the lives of the people we meet and treat every day. For that I am most thankful.”

Give thanks where thanks are due

So, as we get ready to break bread with family and friends this Thanksgiving, let’s all remember how lucky we are to be RTs and give our jobs the thanks they are due.