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National Respiratory Care Week: Your 2010 Events & Activities

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December 13, 2010

AARC members all across the nation put the profession in the spotlight during National Respiratory Care Week, Oct. 24–30. Here are some excepts from the reports you send in about your activities—

Westside Regional
Westside Regional Medical Center, Plantation, FL
The cardiopulmonary services department assembled a team known as the “Lung Rangers” to celebrate RC week and raise lung health awareness by participating in the American Lung Association’s annual 3K Lung Walk/Run. Throughout the year we had bake sales and candy sales, and solicited sponsors and donations to raise money for our cause. We have participated in this event for seven years, and over that time we have had great fun and great team work, and have raised over $18,000! Every year we look forward to RC Week and the Lung Walk/Run. “The Lung Rangers Will Ride Again!”—Steve Bender

Spectrum Health
Spectrum Health, Grand Rapids, MI
Sharman Lamka established the PHIL Award (Pulmonary Health and Illnesses of the Lung) as part of the FACES Foundation after her husband, Phillip C. Lamka, passed away from interstitial lung disease to honor the unsung heroes in the respiratory therapy profession who understand that each breath matters. Tracy Willett, RRT, was the recipient of our Inaugural PHIL Award. Tracy received the Appreciation sculpture, adapted by artist MK Shannon specifically for the FACES Foundation, a certificate of recognition, and paid registration to the Minnesota Society for Respiratory Care Spring Conference in March 2011.—Dana M. Wiersema, RRT, AE-C

St Elizabeth
St. Elizabeth Hospital, Edgewood, KY
St. Elizabeth Hospital, together with Talecris BioTheraputics, sponsored a free Alpha 1 Antitrypsin deficiency disorder screening. We had help from student volunteers from Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati Clermont College. Forty-eight people participated in the screening, so it was a huge success.—Mark Vargas, RRT

Carroll Hospital
Carroll Hospital Center, Westminster, MD
We went out into the local community and gave some asthma awareness classes to some 6th grade students at one of the middle schools in our town, and we also participated in a smoking cessation program to support smokers in their effort to keep off cigarettes. Inside the hospital, we kicked off a campaign to give staff a brief idea of some of the things that we do, while making it entertaining and fun for them via several contests that came complete with prizes, such as a Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco jersey and Olive Garden gift cards. From there we had respiratory care sessions with meals throughout the week from vendors and doctors who showed their appreciation to our staff. We had a skills day for our staff to complete any departmental skills that needed to be worked on and had a departmental meeting with a big dinner where we celebrated the accomplishment of one of our respiratory care practitioners, Nick Turner, who was just presented with the Hospital Employee of the Year award for his excellent service.—Keith Boore, RRT, CPFT

Scripps Mercy
Scripps Mercy Hospital, San Diego and Chula Vista, CA
We sent out a document with respiratory care stories about some of our staff members to both of our Mercy hospital campuses, and our Marketing department also emailed a link to the stories to all staff at both hospital facilities. We enjoyed celebrating the week with support provided to us via our equipment vendors. We had raffle give-aways for staff, and every staff member received a respiratory care t-shirt with company logo. We also sponsored some respiratory care education, along with a “show and tell” in the lobby of our hospital. A collage of staff pictures and educational materials were displayed in a display window just outside our cafeteria as well.—Martin Noriega

New York Downstate Association for Respiratory Therapists (NYDART)
For the 42nd year, the New York metropolitan area’s annual respiratory therapy symposium brought distinguished speakers from around the globe to provide respiratory therapists with a superlative educational event. The lectures began with Sam Giordano, MBA, RRT, FAARC, executive director and CEO of the AARC, as the keynote speaker. Following Sam’s interesting talk was the world renowned and always inspiring Dr. Forrest Bird. A standing ovation from the audience greeted the culmination of his speech while the NYDART Board of Directors presented a beaming Dr. Bird with a plaque naming him “The Father of Mechanical Ventilation.” Other speakers included Dr. James K. Stoller, from the Cleveland Clinic; Dr. Arthur Slutsky, from St. Michaels Hospital in Toronto; NYDART Medical Director Dr. Suhail Raoof, from Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn and the president elect of the American College of Chest Physicians; Dr. Adel Bougatef, who came all the way from the Academic Children’s Hospital in Brussels, Belgium; and Dr. Charles Oribabor, from Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. Forty-six exhibitors also displayed the latest equipment and pharmaceuticals, and a gourmet lunch was served and awards were presented while a fierce competition ensued at the Respiratory Care Academic Challenge. The two finalists in the challenge were SUNY Stony Brook and Nassau Community College. SUNY Stony Brook emerged victorious. The annual Jonathan Schwarz Memorial Respiratory Therapist of the Year Award was presented to Ellen Becker, RRT, PhD, from Long Island University Brooklyn Campus, and a new award entitled “Friends of Respiratory Care Education” (F.O.R.C.E.) was presented to the very generous vendors in recognition of their support of the event. The speakers were also given a separate plaque providing each of them with honorary membership in NYDART, and a raffle raised money for the Wounded Warriors Project.—Tom Paolillo, RRT, Leon Lebowitz, RRT, Felix Khusid, RRT

Johns Hopkins
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, MD
Employees, patients, and community members rode the COPD Shuttle at our facility on Oct. 26, and also learned more about COPD and how to prevent it. Many people were screened for COPD with spirometry onsite, and the pulmonary division’s research coordinators recruited potential participants for several research studies related to COPD and asthma. We reached about 300 people, including employees, patients, teens, and many people in the community. The respiratory department was proud to host the COPD Shuttle during National Respiratory Care Week as a fun way to inform more people about the causes, treatment options, and prevention of COPD and lung disease. —Cheri Grottenthaler, RRT-RPFT

Catawba Valley Community College, Hickory, NC
Students manned a booth on campus and performed over 200 screens for the Drive4COPD campaign on Oct. 27.—Catherine Bitsche, RRT-NPS

Montana State
Montana State University, Great Falls, MT
Students decorated on campus and displayed appreciation for therapists and physicians at clinic.—Brian Cayko, MBA, RRT

Spartanburg College
Spartanburg Community College, Spartanburg, SC
We started our celebration during the week prior to RC Week by getting the seniors involved in a campus-wide health fair. They provided spirometry screenings and heart rate and oxygen saturation readings, along with an occasional carbon monoxide test. Literature was also available for those who wanted to quit smoking, or who had allergies, COPD, and/or asthma. In all, students screened 86 individuals, 34 of whom were 35 or older. Of these, nine had a positive history and two tested with either a FVC or FEV1/FVC below 70%.—Joel S. Livesay, MS, RRT, RVT

Laurel Institute
Laurel Business Institute, Uniontown, PA
Our students participated in two local health fairs where they distributed health brochures on asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, and smoking cessation, and also had pig lungs on display to demonstrate the effects of mechanical ventilation. The students were busy screening for the Drive4COPD campaign in an attempt to put our state in the lead as well. The week came to an end with a luncheon to celebrate our profession and all of their hard work.—April Butchki, BS, RRT, CPFT

Dayton Children’s
Dayton Children’s Medical Center, Dayton, OH
We hosted the CAARE training program for six day care providers so they would understand how to manage their children’s asthma by knowing signs/symptoms and how to respond, and most importantly, how to make changes in the environment to reduce triggers in their day care facilities. The program was made possible through a Think TV station grant. Three of our fulltime pulmonary diagnostic technologists and discharge planners also completed 14 COPD screenings that consisted of having the individual fill out a COPD questionnaire and perform a spirometry and eNO test. They also talked with staff and visitors about the effects of secondhand smoke and tobacco use while advising them to quit. — Belinda Huffman, BS, RRT, CPFT

Charleston Medical Center
Charleston Area Medical Center, Charleston, WV
We set up a Drive4COPD table and popcorn give-away, and one of our rehab patients, who owns a sign company, also made a special happy birthday poster for a surprise birthday celebration for one of our staff. We thought that fit right into our mission to be more involved with our patients, because you have to be involved for patients to care enough to do something like that.—Chuck Menders, RRT

Eastern New Mexico
Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell, Roswell, NM
Our first and second year students participated in a variety of activities that were open to the public. First, people interested in learning more about the profession watched the “Life and Breath” DVD, received a handout explaining our profession, and were shown—and got to play with—our ventilators. Next, interested individuals also received free flow volume loops, vital sign checks, and pulse oximetry, along with a handout explaining more about COPD, sleep disorders, smoking cessation, and healthy lung living. Lastly, anyone 35 or older had the chance to complete the Drive4COPD population screener.—Gina Buldra, BS, RRT

San Joaquin Valley
San Joaquin Valley College Bakersfield Campus, Bakersfield, CA
We hosted a pot-luck lunch for our students and faculty and also supported a voluntary “No Smoking Day” on our campus. The Bakersfield Campus has over 1,000 students, and 60+ faculty and staff, and most of the staff/faculty signed the volunteer commitment not to smoke for just one day. Anyone who signed the banner received a sucker and a ribbon.—Albert Ayotte, MBA/HCM, RRT

Self Regional Healthcare
Self Regional Healthcare, Greenwood, SC
This year our president and CEO, Jim Pfeiffer, kicked off our Drive4COPD campaign by volunteering to be the first employee to be screened. Our goal was to screen all the Self Regional Healthcare employees, and by the end of the week, 895 screenings had been performed. The week culminated with a Friday luncheon that recognized the Therapist of the Year along with the therapists who won the Hot Air Contest with the highest peak flows. The luncheon was also special because we were able to acknowledge the role that Piedmont Technical College has played in training the majority of our staff by presenting scholarships to students. This year we were able to give three scholarships totaling $2,500.—Martha Huddelson, RRT, AE-C

Rock Valley College
Rock Valley College, Rockford, IL
Students and faculty were invited to “Save Bob.” CPR was performed on a mannequin for two hours in an effort to educate people on performing CPR and what respiratory care is all about. A local hospital brought in equipment that gave feedback on the effectiveness of their compressions and ventilation, and we had game boards that consisted of CPR questions and equipment identification. Overall it was well attended. During the event we also raised money to send a child to an Illinois Asthma Camp. Two students put up money challenging their instructor to perform continuous CPR for three minutes. Needless to say the money was placed in the jar for asthma camp.—Jacki Moss, MEd, RRT

Advocate Christ
Advocate Christ Medical Center, Oak Lawn, IL
Thanks to a great group effort by the PCPC and all of those who brought in goodies for our bake sale, we raised $240.15 for the Ronald McDonald CareMobile so that toothbrushes and toothpaste could be purchased. Cavities are one of the top medical problems the CareMobile sees in its patients, and the donation was greatly appreciated. We also set up a display in the cafeteria to educate passersby on our new BiPAP V60 device. — Sharon McKinney, MA, RRT-RCP

Mott College
Mott Community College, Lapeer, MI
We had an informational booth on smoking cessation and asthma education, and we also participated in the Drive4COPD campaign and provided blood pressure, pulse oximetry, and peak flow screening. As you can see from our class photo, we purchased the INSPIRE t-shirts that we proudly wore for our event.—Brenda McComb, president of the Mott Community College Respiratory Care Student Society

Promise Regional
Promise Regional Medical Center, Hutchinson, KS
We provided pulmonary screenings at our annual Health and Wellness Expo on Oct. 16, completing 160 spirometry tests. We also had a departmental party for our RT staff on Wed. Oct. 27, where we provided a meal and gave out AARC pens and shirts to show our appreciation for our hard working therapists.—Jackie Harvey, RRT

Saline Memorial
Saline Memorial Hospital, Benton, AR
We hosted our Pinnacle Conference for the respiratory therapists in central Arkansas. The turnout was great, and we had many vendors come and support our conference.—David Gibson, RRT-NPS, RPFT

University of California, San Diego-Medical Center

We kicked off each day of the week with a breakfast for staff, and events included a peanut butter taste test, a chocolate taste test, best dish at a potluck contest, as well as a scavenger hunt. Daily prize drawings were held as well, with each therapist receiving a special gift in appreciation for all they do. While there was much fun during the week, therapists did make their presence known in the cafeteria too with displays than included an iron lung, one of the first HP oximeters, and some antiques right out of Dr. Forrest Bird’s workshop. In addition, a special awards ceremony was held to honor therapists for everything from “Best SBAR Report” to “Therapist of the Year.” The week was organized by the department’s Reward and Recognition team and brought some well deserved fun and deserving recognition to UCSD therapists.—Richard M. Ford, BS, RRT, FAARC

Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Richland, WA
This year for Respiratory Care Week, I made a couple of videos and posted them on YouTube. The first video is a parody of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody. In the middle of the song is our entire RT staff in a South Park avatar form. The second video is a parody of the “Harry Potter Puppets: What’s that Mysterious Ticking Noise.” The characters are our five intensivists and two nurse practitioners.—Edna Felix, RRT, AE-C

Baxter Regional
Baxter Regional Medical Center, Mountain Home, AR
We asked our nursing staff to vote on a “Respiratory Therapist of the Year” award. After tallying all the votes, we had a tie between a day shift and a night shift therapist, so we decided to have two awards. The day shift winner, on the left in the photo, is Laurie DePriest, and the night shift winner, on the right, is Debbie Williams. They both received “Respiratory Rocks” t-shirts, coffee mugs with candy, and gift cards.—Cindy Hawthorne

North Central State College, Mansfield, OH
We set up a table to show everyone what RTs do, and I also organized a Drive4COPD table. We all wore t-shirts that stated, “Saving Lives One Breath at a Time Respiratory Cares.” We passed out information on how valuable respiratory therapists are to the health care team, as well as our role in caring for patients. We were able to reach out to a lot of people and had about 80 people fill out the COPD questionnaire.—Jamie Bickel, North Central State College respiratory care student

Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center, Brooklyn, NY
Our department offered four mornings of inservice educational programs, with four CEUs, accompanied by breakfast. Then on Thursday we staffed an informational display table in the lobby that featured educational materials, two ventilators, an intubation mannequin, promotion of the profession, and a video that displayed department therapists “in action.” The video was underscored by the popular singer Mario performing “How Can I Breathe?” A memorable and emotional moment was appreciated when a former patient happened by the display and told the therapists behind the table, “You guys saved my life twice!” She had a history of being intubated during two separate visits and was more than happy to share her experiences with us.—Leon C. Lebowitz, BA, RRT

Saint Luke’s
Saint Luke’s Northland Hospital, Kansas City, MO
We kicked off the week with a Great Strides walk for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (CFF) coordinated by Debi Sheridan, RRT. The event attracted 53 walkers to Zona Rosa, a local shopping area, and will contribute a little over $5,000 to the CFF. The event provided a chance for the staff to get to know each other better. Debi discovered Doug Simpson does DJ work on the side. Initially Doug was scheduled to work at the hospital, but the RT department team pulled together to rearrange the schedule and allow Doug to take the day off to provide music for the walk. We also did a Drive4COPD screening at the hospital’s managers meeting, participated in a CEU program, had a daily drawing for a small gift, and as any good respiratory staff would do, celebrated with food.—Mary Lou Guy, MBA, RRT, CHT

Baptist College
Baptist College of Health Sciences, Memphis, TN
Our juniors and seniors used Respiratory Care Week to “spread the word” about the profession and program to faculty, staff, and students on campus. On Wednesday they shared poster boards they developed to describe the history and diversity of respiratory care, performed PFT screenings on over 40 visitors, and offered the opportunity to win prizes to those who could answer “trivia” questions taken from the poster boards. — Brian Parker, MPH, RRT-NPS, RPFT, AE-C

Mid State Tech
Mid-State Technical College, Marshfield, WI
We celebrated with a reception to acknowledge the most recent recipient of the Respiratory Therapist Program Outstanding Alumnus award. The 2010 winner is Greg Spindler. Greg is a 1994 graduate who is currently the director of respiratory care and sleep medicine at Sacred Heart Hospital in Eau Claire, WI. His past work history includes home care, acute care, mobile health care, and management. He has been active in the Wisconsin Society for Respiratory Care since 1996, serving in various capacities from district representative to president, and he is currently holding the office of past president. At present, Greg serves on the Mid-State Technical College Respiratory Therapist Advisory Committee as president.—Barbara L. Hughes, RRT, MS

West Virginia Northern Community College, Weirton, WV
Students Tom Zinn, Randy Baker, and Kristina Blake conducted a health screening and Drive4COPD screening event. By the end of the week, our students had conducted 570 COPD screenings.—Lisa Ingram, MS, RRT

Allen Memorial Hospital, Waterloo, IA
On Monday, I personally sponsored an Ice Cream Social in the department for all staff. On Tuesday, we had an Open House for our new department, which due to workload had been delayed. We decorated the department, served punch and homemade cookies and brownies courtesy of the hospital, and gave tours to other hospital staff. On Wednesday we had a department pot luck between shifts with a number of staff bringing in good food. On Thursday, we had pizza party courtesy of one of the pulmonologists, and on Friday the other pulmonologist provided a sub sandwich meal to all staff. By the end of the week, we all planned to use the treadmills in cardiopulmonary rehab to burn off the excess calories!—Kenneth E. Draper, BS, RRT, RPFT

Medical University
Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
We celebrated Respiratory Care Week with a lung cake in the pulmonary clinic.—RT staff

Illinois Central
Illinois Central College, Peoria, IL
Our students worked diligently to bring together the first Peoria Lung Walk. The event was held in the pouring rain, but over $2,500 was collected through donations, raffles, and bake sales. This was certainly a record amount of money raised by the students, but they did it with diligence and hard work! I am so proud of them.—Kelly Crawford-Jones, MS, RRT

Independence University
Independence University, California
Our students organized, coordinated, and conducted free lung health screenings and pulmonary physician lectures. They performed over 200 free spirometry tests and pulse oximetries, counseled over 200 people regarding tobacco cessation, and provided hundreds of brochures about respiratory disorders and our great profession of respiratory care, all under the guidance of RRTs from Respiratory Clinical Institutes, a California-based clinical training and coordination company. The partnership included GalaxoSmithKline, NSpire Health, RCI, the California Lung Association, Contra Costa Medical Center, John Muir Medical Center, and UC Davis Medical Center. The students’ creativity was the chemistry that turned an ordinary week into an extraordinary awareness of respiratory care—even in light of the Giants hosting the World Series.—Jeffery Belle, RRT

West Virginia
West Virginia University Hospital, Morgantown, WV
One of our staff saw the “lady” in this photo at her child’s school. It said, “Pick a Winner” at the top and the kids would reach in and get a prize. So she knew we had to use it for RC Week. Once she brought it in we “RT’d it up” with some portable suction equipment and ping pong balls with either prizes written on them or “sorry, in the stomach” or “sorry, curled up in the back of the mouth.” We also had a wonderful vent cake baked especially for the occasion by my girlfriend.—Chris McCormick, BS, RRT

University of Missouri
University of Missouri, Columbia and St. Louis
The respiratory therapy class of ‘11 donated their time and talent to helping others, promoting the profession, and screening the public. In addition to staffing two different booths at the UM System Wellness Fair in Columbia—one to support Drive4COPD and the other to offer spirometry screening and information about asthma and allergies—they held a bake sale to raise money. The classes of ‘11 and ‘12 on our satellite campus in St. Louis sold treats to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as well. Our clinical instructors, Ann Rolfes, Jenny Keely, and Jen Orscheln, coordinated events on the two campuses.—Shawna Strickland, PhD, RRT-NPS, AE-C

To celebrate the 20 year history of the Babylog 8000 plus ventilator, and the introduction of the Babylog VN500, Dräger Babylog customers received a complimentary copy of the “Neonatal-Pediatric Respiratory Care” pocket guide authored by Dana Oakes. Additionally, ICON offered complimentary educational webinars with continuing education credit to all Dräger customers throughout the week, discussing such topics as ventilator graphics, CO2, transport ventilation, APRV, and non-invasive ventilation.—Ed Coombs, MA, RRT-NPS

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center, Mattoon, IL
We celebrated with daily CEU lunch-n-learns, door prizes, food, and fun. We also awarded our annual RCP of the Year award to the RT who most consistently demonstrates the values and culture of our organization. Nomination forms are sent out to all health care disciplines that interact with the department on a daily basis. This year's winner was Jill Wells, RRT, RCP. Jill won an all expense paid trip to the Illinois Society for Respiratory Care state conference, she was recognized in our hospital flyer, and her name will go on a plaque posted in the department that lists the previous years’ winners.—Brent Ryherd, RRT-NPS, RCP

Alegent-Lakeside Hospital, Omaha, NE

We celebrated by hanging posters around the hospital highlighting our RT team.—RT team at Alegent-Lakeside

Halloween at the Birds, Sagle, ID
And last but not least, Gary Lynch, RRT, sent us this picture of himself with the legendary Dr. Forrest Bird at a Halloween party that took place at Dr. Bird’s home in Idaho during the week.—AARC staff