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Is it ethical or professional for a respiratory therapist to chair the clinical ladder council at a hospital?

Question:

Dear Nancy,

The clinical ladder council at our hospital is in need of a chairman and the CNO decided to appoint the respiratory therapist to chair the council. Is this ethical or professional? How can a respiratory therapist peer review an RN when we oversee RTs?

Colleen

Dear Nancy replies:

Dear Colleen,

It is difficult to respond to your question without more information about the clinical ladder at your facility. As examples, does the ladder include just nurses or are other healthcare professionals included? How does one progress up the clinical ladder and what criteria are required?

It is assumed that other health professionals would have the same objection to having a respiratory therapist chair the council. Have you spoken with the other healthcare professionals about this? It would seem that a change would be quite possible if others had the same objection that the
nurses have.

Even if other healthcare providers are not included, you need to voice your concerns to your chief nursing officer. Your state nurse practice act and its rules needs to be consulted and could be the basis for a change in the chairman of the council. Remember that a change of this type is better achieved with a unified front that includes many voices.

Another point of emphasis, as you point out, is that respiratory therapists know respiratory therapy, but they are not knowledgeable about nursing practice, nor do they supervise nurses.

Cordially,
Nancy

By | 2015-01-19T00:00:00-05:00 January 19th, 2015|Categories: Blogs, Nursing careers and jobs|2 Comments

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    Beth Ashworth October 9, 2015 at 2:04 am - Reply

    Dear RN’s,

    The world of healthcare has moved to a collaboration of team members. Among those team members are RN’s, MD’s, PA’s, NP, PT, RRT’s and pharmacists all trained health care professionals. Many hospitals utilize respiratory therapists as case managers, disease management specialists, and directors of Infection Control, Quality Management, Corporate Compliance, Cardiothoracic programs to name a few of the areas we shine in. Respiratory Therapists do not require nursing oversight to perform in their professional role. In reading both responses I’m concerned that your concept of a respiratory therapist’s role is out-dated. Have you worked in ICU recently or with a transport team and observed the role Respiratory plays?

    It is not only legal but ethical to utilize respiratory therapists to the full extent of their professional expertise. A clinical ladder looks at multiple facets of an individuals interaction with peers, patients, and team members. A registered Respiratory Therapist is found on every Code Team and Rapid Response team I have ever worked with. Why? Because every respiratory therapist brings a broad set of critical care evaluation and intervention skills to the bedside. Respiratory, we are hi-tech and hi-touch.

    Beth Ashworth, RRT

  2. Avatar
    Roberta November 21, 2018 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Dear Colleen,

    Get off your high-horse. An RRT will always be more valuable in my opinion than a drug pushing RN on a med-surge and non critical floor. Sometimes I wonder about my coworkers critical thinking skills. As a rapid response team nurse I can tell you that having a respiratory therapist there with me is all I need, they are more help than the floor nurses. Therefore, use your RTs to their full potential. They are trained in critical care and they are not from certificate programs. They are professionals. I have never been a respiratory therapist so don’t say I am biased. I am a CCRN who does Rapid Response Team.

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