Friday, December 24, 2021

Respiratory Therapists Breathe New Life into Competitive Market

 Andrea Dilworth authored the following press release for UMC.

Hospitals across the state are caught up in yet another battle of supply and demand, and this time it’s not machines, gear, or even nurses. Instead, UMMC is one of many working feverishly to recruit and retain qualified respiratory therapists.

Respiratory therapists are trained to provide specialized care for patients who are having difficulty breathing on their own. They evaluate patients through diagnostic lung testing, chest exams and blood specimen analysis to recommend the best treatments to physicians, which include ventilators and other artificial airway devices.

Unfortunately, the pandemic has caused a shortage in respiratory therapists. Brady Holder, interim director of respiratory care, ECMO and associated clinical programs at UMMC, said he has talked with other department heads across the state, all of whom are having difficulty finding staff as the industry contends with “burnout,” the cost of having fewer respiratory therapists on staff to treat the sickest of patients.

“Staff numbers and the inability to hire respiratory therapists is my largest indicator,” explained Holder. “We have seen several staff members retire or retire early. We have also had one or two leave the profession completely.”

UMMC has therefore had to find ways to compete. “We are currently offering increased pay options through relief contract positions, bonus pay for extra shifts, as well as working with outside staffing agencies to find qualified staff,” he explained.

Yet, they’re competing with a formidable opponent: The travel market, which Holder said pays respiratory therapists “anywhere from 2 to 5 times what their standard salary would be depending on the location, type of contract and if they have any specialty experience -- pediatrics, transport, acute care, ECMO.”

Holder calls the travel market the primary “driving force” behind the increase in pay. Though it has been recruiting respiratory therapists for some years now, taking an assignment meant having to move either to the West Coast or the Northeast. But in today’s market, respiratory therapists can take on assignments within hours, even minutes, from home, and UMMC has lost some therapists as a result.

Robert Mashburn, who has worked 17 years at UMMC – 15 as a respiratory therapist and two before that as an emergency room technician -- knows he could earn more money elsewhere but has no intention of leaving. And he has his reasons.

“I feel like I make a difference, I enjoy the work I do,” said Mashburn, who now serves as clinical coordinator of respiratory therapy.

Dr. Driscoll DeVaul, who served as the director of respiratory care, ECMO and associated clinical programs before becoming assistant dean of academic affairs for the School of Health Related Professions in August, said recruitment efforts - many held virtually - have increased despite the pandemic, as UMMC has strengthened contacts with directors of respiratory therapy schools in the state and most recently ventured into Arkansas to recruit.

“The demand for RTs is a boost for the profession but also a concern for hospitals like UMMC,” DeVaul explained. “With COVID-19 being a respiratory disease caused by an airborne virus, respiratory therapists have been relentless in demonstrating their expertise in pulmonary physiology and respiratory diseases, which has ultimately proven very beneficial in caring for COVID-19 patients.

“The impact of respiratory therapists to health care is largely felt in the caring of premature babies with immature lungs, heart attack and stroke patients, and patients living with asthma and other chronic pulmonary conditions.”

DeVaul said hospitals must remain committed in the investment in respiratory therapists as critical members of the health care team because understaffing of the specialized health care practitioners can severely compromise the ability to provide optimal care and the promotion of improved patient outcomes.

Only a handful of community colleges in the state offer the two-year respiratory therapy program, said Holder, and they graduate relatively small classes each year, which makes it all the more challenging when trying to replace those who have left the profession.

“I reached out to a director at one of the local schools we work closely with,” Holder said. “She said that they are beginning to get more applications now. The biggest issue is finding qualified applicants. She said that they may receive 50-60 applicants, but only 25-30 may meet all the requirements to enroll into the program.”

Most programs in the state require an ACT score of 18 or higher, a C or better in prerequisite college courses, and a background check. No state institutions currently offer a bachelor’s degree in the field.

DeVaul, who just transitioned from practitioner to academics this year, said he continues to lend his years of experience and expertise to the respiratory care program, as needed.

“Breathing is fundamental to life, and respiratory therapists live by the motto: ‘Our work is so important, we are wired with the belief that if you are not breathing, nothing else matters; it doesn’t matter what kind of drugs, blood, or other medical interventions are given, we want to give our patients the best chance possible, the best respiratory care possible’,” said DeVaul.

“SHRP looks forward to future collaborations with UMMC’s adult and children’s respiratory departments, as well as other related programs, as we work to recruit and retain a strong clinical workforce.”



Anonymous said...

One would think that the idiot community college leaders would be aware of this shortage and be way out in front of it. Instead, heard from a friend they're trying to run off most of their staff.

Anonymous said...

Kids should be able to participate in high school/ career prep programs like respiratory theripast, practical nursing and other in need jobs during their senior year in high school. Kids would be able to finish up their career program a year after high school, have work skills, be able to get a job making decent wages and we wouldnt have these problems. Plus kids wouldnt have crazy amounts of student loans. But instead of coming up with real career plans, we focus on stopping critical race theory, which no one has proven they even teach.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh, it’s “burnout” and not the requirement they take the clot shot

Anonymous said...

Totally agree about high school opportunities needing to be the norm again. Problem is, they gotta keep all those fat cat college administrator salaries flush....lots of family members have to be taken care of simply because of who they know.

To your last point: CRT isn't being taught directly....but it's been openly practiced now for probably 40 years in the form of affirmative action. America's "educational" system is bankrupt to the bone. There is zero accountability like before, say 1980. Now, it's pass everyone at all costs - parents don't complain, and funding remains flush. The last two generations of youth don't know who they are or where they came from, while crying - "With the lights out, it's less dangerous. Here we are now, entertain us. I feel stupid, and contagious. Here we are now - ENTERTAIN us."

Sorry if off point KF.

Anonymous said...

Nursing programs DO EXIST in 'some' high school tech buildings. Should be mandated by the legislature. You think the state department of education under Carey Wright emphasizes career tech opportunities? Show us evidence of the last time she's ever mentioned it. Not part of the narrative and our legislature only gives these programs lip service.

Took our community college system forty years to get serious about truck-driver training programs and industrial start up programs for manufacturing. Mississippi was the national model for a statewide 'junior college training network' but we're suckin' hind tit on what we're actually doing now to accommodate business, high school graduates and the workforce. Meanwhile, everybody and his brother, including Dickie Scruggs is running his scam to make money in this arena.

Anonymous said...

These positions must have an 18 ACT and a C average? Why are the standards so high?

Anonymous said...

@10:35pm Great question. Answer: Because America did away with vocational pathways in high schools over 30 years ago....remember "shop" class?.

Now every student, regardless of actual lack of ability or a minimal effort given is conditioned to believe they should be, and are capable of going to college. Hence, the need to get those ACT scores up! In reality, it's used to given a performance grade to every school. It's also only to perpetuate those streams of state and federal financial aid that covers billions in tuition for colleges/universities who have hundreds of millions of bloat that is impossible to justify.....and campuses are constantly asking for, and adding more...all in the name of preparing young people for the future or getting more students to come to their school.

The educational industrial complex in Mississippi is merely a large group of individuals with dime-store doctorates (they attended on weekends or online only) that further the obscene ocean of money going into those superfluous administrative positions that have nothing to do with any actual education of children or youth. Basically, they're openly pimping young people for a gravy train of state/federal funding - education and preparation for life hardly factor in the equation.

In China, a student's "aptitude" is determined by 8th grade....and their pathway is adjusted accordingly. American used to do the same, except now "no child is left behind" regardless of effort or ability. School performance grades, and the allocation of state/federal money is really what is behind their "value" of each child to the bloated bureaucracy that is long overdue for an enema.

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Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

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This is definitely a Beaver production.

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Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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