Greetings! Sitting down to reflect a bit on the accomplishments of the past year I am reminded of how fortunate I am to have been able to work with all of you, the Respiratory Professionals of Washington State. You represent key members of the healthcare team wherever you are employed. From home care therapists to neonatal specialists, the differences you make in the lives of your patients and your patient’s families are both palpable and so incredibly important. You deserve recognition for the work you do and for that, I applaud you.
This past year in Washington State has been a productive one. We saw our licensure bill modified to allow us to legally take orders from other Licensed Independent Practitioners like Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants with the passing of HB 1640. We also saw the retirement of a couple of key physicians who helped champion respiratory care in our state. Dr. David Pierson (Seattle) and Dr. James Bonvallet (Spokane) have interfaced with respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy students throughout their careers. Many of us recall listening to lectures from these physicians or reading articles written by them. Their influence is and always will be present in our practice.
Respiratory Therapists from Washington State have made national headlines this year. Rob Diblasi, RRT-NPS, FAARC was recognized on the cover of the AARC times for his work on an inexpensive infant bubble CPAP device aimed at improving outcomes in areas of the world that lack the infrastructure and support of a traditional NICU environment. His work helped to land a 2.3 million dollar grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Gary Wickman, BA, RRT, FAARC was also included in the AARC Times this year having written an article describing the trials and tribulations of managing a bill through the legislature.
As I am writing this, Respiratory Care Week is coming to a close for 2011. My presidency will end on the last day of this year and we will begin 2012 welcoming in our new president, Greg Carter, BS, RRT. As this will likely be the last newsletter for 2011 I would like to leave you with a small challenge. Each year Respiratory Care Week often marks the pinnacle of our public visibility. We do more during this one week to let the world know who we are and what we do than any other week in the year. The work we do for our communities during this week is great but, why do we wait for one week in October to sing the praises of our profession? I believe we need to be doing this every week, throughout the year. This is our profession and we alone control the direction it takes. I challenge you to make a point of letting those around you know who you are and what you do on a regular basis. We do incredibly important work every day and our work deserves attention. How many other professions can proudly state that they are the ones responsible for the operation of one of the most complicated pieces of continually running equipment (mechanical ventilator) in the hospital environment today? We advocate for our patients on a regular basis. We need to advocate for our profession as well.
I wish you a wonderful holiday season and once again say thank you for the opportunity to work alongside the best group of professionals I know.
Scott J. Mahoney, BA, RRT
First of all I would like to give thanks to all the members of the RCSW board for all their hard work this past year and more importantly, to Scott Mahoney who served as our president. There was a lot accomplished and a lot to be proud of as Scott pointed out. I’m delighted to take over a board that is in tremendous shape thanks to Scott’s leadership. This coming year, it will be a time to reflect on where we have been, where we are now and where we intend to go in the future.
As always, we face many challenges such as staying on pace with the AARC’s “Respiratory Therapist for 2015 and beyond,” based on the expected needs of respiratory care patients, the profession, and the evolving health care system to improve access to respiratory therapists’ skills and talents. This would involve getting a bachelor’s degree program in Washington State. Something our state desperately needs. We also have many ongoing legislative issues at both a State and Federal level such as the Health Care Authority’s proposed budget cuts that will have significant impact on our Critical Access Hospitals across our state.
In addition, I believe we have work to do on the structure of the RCSW itself to widen participation, involve younger people more, and better represent the interests of the professional community that the RCSW serves.
Our field is constantly changing. We need to ensure that the RCSW recognizes these changes, and moves with them. The board of directors and I look forward to the challenges ahead and you should feel confident in the board members you have elected into office.
I thank you all for the confidence you have placed in me by electing me and I look forward to serving the membership of the RCSW.
Greg S. Carter BS, RRT