i love you respiratory therapy department

25 Oct

I am going to write about some people in the hospital that have always taken care of me on the job. Everyone knows about how nurses often treat new nurses and while I did not have any major terrible experiences with the experienced nurses it seemed early on that the respiratory therapists around along my journey have turned my new and lately not so new nurse experiences into an irreplaceable affection for the respiratory department.

This tenderness was clear to me from week two off of orientation and my first code blue.  I walked down the hall on the way to another patients room and I see while walking by the room the patient is ripping off the gown and appeared to be in distress. I go in the room and the patient goes into cardiac arrest, I got no pulse, so I call the code blue and the first person to arrive is the RT (cause he just always seems to be around) he just started bagging and I just started compressing till  the code cart arrived and everyone else just came in and started working.  The whole time while trying to resuscitate the patient I see my RT ventilating the now intubated patient squeezing that bag and trying to find my face that was lost while trying to blurt out the facts about the patient and answer the questions that the intensivist kept trying to get out of me while desperately trying to find the differential for this problem. All I could see was his face filled with empathy, knowing this is my first time and knowing that I was 2 weeks new. He was just so calm and steady at the head of the bed doing his job and assessing the scene. I was so nervous, everyone was doing their job, chest compressions, emergency meds, checking the rhythm, feeling for pulses and there I was all new…racing with verbage out loud to try and get all the information out and my words were directed towards the probing intensivist but my eyes and speaking were fixed on RT because it was the only way I could read off of my paper and explain the patients clinical facts without losing my thoughts amongst the chaos. I just really wanted to be inside that ambu-bag hiding, but of course that is not possible: I would not fit inside anyway!   And when it was done he did not just walk away like everyone else did,  leaving me with a trashed room post ACLS for 40 minutes with drug vials littering the floor, a code cart empty, and a dead body staring at me.  He was there till I told him to leave so I could clean up the patient, perform post-mortem care, and bring in the family.

That was just the beginning of my fondness for respiratory. It was over and over again, every week a rapid response, and every time RT was there: performing interventions with this calmness that screamed to me: it is ok new nurse lets just get it done: the bedside intubations and transferring to ICU over and over again to what started out as worry and fear for me the first year lead to the second year turning to frolic and probably inappropriate but relieving humor of you wanna play this game again nurse?  It got to the point that when I found my patients in distress or anticipated distress I would just call RT on his cell phone and tell him…guess who? (as if my voice is not the dead give away) I am about to call a rapid response on my patient can you come to the room now?

I will not soon forget the intubation with thick pink frothy fluid spewing out all over while I am gasping out loud literally and oh my Godding and what is this stuff with descriptions (and making a funny spectacle)  and then laughing while sucking it all out all with my unconcealed surprise and giddiness at my aggressive suctioning and fumbling for my space around RTs  hands as he tried to intubate my patient, all while thinking this is not the same nurse as last year. And when that episode was over and was succesful he starts pushing me slightly to laugh about my reactions and animation.

This affinity towards some of the RTs at my hospital is not just limited to effective super skills in an emergency situation.  They just generally make my day brighter, listen to my rants, make me smile and they cheer up my patients, assess our patients. I feel at times like they are following me, or I am following them especially during my first assessments and I find all my patient’s oxygen saturation around 100% because they are all getting blasted with 6 liters on the nebs and I can not get my oral temps at that time either. When all 48 beds are full and all 48 patients are being nebulized I like to take down the treatments on my patients when they are done to get them all happy.  I remember at first wondering…is this done yet and shaking up the device to see if there was medicine left in the cup or not and was so embarrassed when RT saw me doing this he just started telling me: 1o minutes, or 20 minutes depending on how much of that stuff that comes out of little plastic vials is being administered. I always get happy when RT slips those little extension connectors into my pockets for oxygen tubing for patients that need oxygen therapy, or home oxygen patients to walk to the bathroom, it just gives me a giggle because I can not stand when nurses cut the oxygen tubing to make the connection and it always seems to look ugly and come apart during treatments (ugggh drives me crazy). So I always have some and even nurses ask me for them knowing I have some slipped into my pocket.  

The rest of this post describes some breathtaking (no pun intended)  RT bloggers that I read every post (only just 3 of them) and a few of my previous posts related to my experiences with the respiratory therapy department at my hospital (I left some out due to laziness of searching for them) and I left out the rant about ABGs not being drawn on time for my patients because they were not ordered STAT. (but heh I understand and get it).

So with all this attention towards the respiratory department especially after the first code blue I found  Keep Breathing and have been reading him ever since. His kind words after my sadness and guilt over that first code blue  really meant lots to me.

This RT made me laugh so hard when I was feeling like green poop from the job. I mean I came home feeling all crappy and stumbled upon his description of Ventolin types and nearly peed in my pants from laughing so hard, and I was no longer feeling crappy from work I was feeling the pleasing release of laughter endorphins. It is my perfect dose of humor, my style, and his blog is so educational I love it.

RTs are important, we all know that, this house MD made us all laugh when during a rapid response he wanted to know where the hxll the RT was…we were like dude…the RT is right here. (bagging the patient duh)

RTs usually get the ETT  in the first time…at least in my experiences so far as still new nurse *giggles* but sometimes they can not and that is when a stat page to the anesthesiogist comes in right on time.

This future RT writes about all kinds of experiences from different perspectives in health care and he likes trauma too. I cried reading his post about a pediatric code blue, something that I would never be able to handle (I am strictly adults) his writing is genuine and I feel for his experience and need to get it out there.  He is really going to be a super duper RT. (and hopefully nice to new nurses) !

And that is all I have to say about that except other cool factors to add: I always get the bag of ice ready for the ABGs that need to be drawn. I just like to. I will never call for PRN treatments that are not ordered or indicated. I will always laugh about what kind of trouble I will be up to each shift with you. I will never blast up the oxygen on the CO2 retainer. I will always put the patient back on BIPAP (instead of calling you to do it) when I am the one taking them off . I will always take down your finished treatments !

9 Responses to “i love you respiratory therapy department”

  1. Wanderer October 25, 2009 at 07:58 #

    Sing it sister! A good RT can save your day. A bad one…we’ll just leave it alone. I too love our RTs. Professional and always a great resource when you’re in need.

  2. JD October 25, 2009 at 09:31 #

    Thank you so very much for the kind words toward RTs. I am a Respiratory Therapist of 17+ years and am always goad to hear positive feedback.

    • seejanenurse October 26, 2009 at 13:09 #

      Well you are welcome JD and you got a barrel full of positivity coming your way from this place.

  3. keepbreathing October 26, 2009 at 00:28 #

    Thanks for keeping us in mind! It’s refreshing to hear positive feedback from a nurse…so, thank you!

    • seejanenurse October 26, 2009 at 13:11 #

      😀 no thank you ! RT appreciation from my way.

  4. heidi November 4, 2009 at 01:52 #

    I read your post and I’m trilled to know that some nurses actually appreciate what we as RTs do. Now, as with every profession….there are good RTs and Bad RTs, there are also good RNs and bad RNs. You can always pick out the ones that really care about the patient instead of just themselves.

    • seejanenurse November 4, 2009 at 22:56 #

      Thanks Heidi! You are appreciated so much! I love you RT !


  1. Happy Respiratory Care Week! « Respiratory Therapy 101: Just Keep Breathing - October 26, 2009

    […] New (but not “new” any more) Nurse Jane has written a lovely tribute to RTs everywhere. Thank you, Jane, for the kind words and the affection! […]

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