This is a repost of last years: What a respiratory therapist does Christmas Day at work...
For those that has asked “What do you do all day?”
5:00 It’s Christmas morning and I’m up before the sun, not with the excitement of what Santa brought but with excitement of whose lives will I empact today.
6:15 Out the door wearing short sleeves this unseasonal hot Christmas morning…it’s 70 degree already!
6:40 Clocked in and ready for report
7:00 Start to work with a typical load of 29 treatment on the pulmonary floor. A hodgepodge of respiratory failure, post vent, COPD, asthma, CHF, pneumonia patients. Of course the first three patients have multiple neb orders: bronchodilator, antibiotics, steroids, mucus thinning, NaCl; and CPT. Not yet finished with the third patient when I am called to a patient bedside by the nurse. After assessing and treating the patient not on my list, I finish up the third patient.
8:00 Helpful therapist from call areas with smaller count load come help me knock out first rounds (this involves: checking chart for diagnosis and order, taking patient vital signs, assessing patient, giving a breathing treatment, reassessing, charting, and moving to next room)
8:10 Scratch that, me and the other therapist assess a patient in distress, give treatments, draw blood, call Doctor, fix problem (Doctor is super excited to be called for the fifth time by 8:45)
9:00 Back to first rounds. I smile and graciously give a treatment to a patient that swears she doesn’t smoke, even though the smell of cigarettes knock you over upon entering the room.
Give a treatment to the CHF patient with uncontrolled diabetes that swears they follow the diet to a tee! They don’t know why their sugar spikes, I smile even after seeing the three snickers wrappers in the trash.
Change out water bottle of a trach patient as they have a treatment, suction their airway feel blessed when the patient gives you an orange out of their fruit basket.
Get called to a PRN treatment. The nurse says the patient is in distressed, arrive at room and find patient sleeping.
10:50 First round done…with the help of my other super therapist. Now head to department to grab a snack.
11:00 Bathroom break, clean hands, snack ready, break time….scratch that CODE BLUE time. Rush to code, do CPR, intiubate, draw blood, help push patient to ICU.
11:50 Snack time! Quickly, before something else happens.
12:00 Start second round and finish second rounds with no major issue, complaints, or emergencies!
2:00 Eat left overs from Christmas Eve dinner that my mother-in-law lovingly made and packed up for me.
2:30 Start third rounds…pray that things stay quiet. We see patients at their worst and best. We also see families at their worst and best. When you feel bad you true self shines! Most of our patients are pleasant even when they feel their worst. Most families are pleasant but…ever now and then they are crazzzzy! The prayer for a quiet third round is not answered as a crazy family member is escorted off property by security for yelling at the patient and other family. Well that was fun, now we must move on to the next treatment.
4:00 Not quite done with third rounds I get called to a patient in distress. After that treatment an other CODE is called. After stabilizing the patient and moving them to the ICU, you go and finish third rounds. Then take supplies to a therapist that is swamped but missing one specific thing.
5:00 After all my treatments are done, I take the ER phone so that a therapist can go home early to their little kids.
5:15 I realize I really, really, really need to pee right as the ER phone rings. They need to intubation a patient. This means the patient cannot breath on their own, so peeing will have to wait.
5:18 In ER, gather all the equipment needed to do an intubation on a patient and put them on a ventilator (respirator). Go the patient room where I expect to find nurses and a doctor getting their supplies ready, I find no one but a patient in mild distress. I then run to the bathroom; and then ask the clerk where everyone is. I find out it’s not emergent and they will begin in a few minutes.
6:15 Patient is successfully intubation and put on a ventilator. Hope they wait till 7:00 to move the patient to the ICU.
6:20 Back in department ready to give report at 6:45. ER calls, need a STAT assessment of patient.
6:30 STAT assessment luckily was just a precaution, patient stable and you head back to department only to be stopped by the ER phone again.
6:35 Move ventilated patient to ICU, successful uneventful move!
7:05 Return to department, give report to on coming therapist.
7:15 Chart the last 2 hours
So to answer the question “What do you do all day?”
This is a day in the life of a regular respiratory therapist.