“The increasing shortage of respiratory therapists is a serious challenge for us all. Across the healthcare industry, we owe it to patients and their families – and to ourselves – to expand specialization in respiratory care and elevate the profession. Together, we can raise our voices to spread awareness and interest in the lifesaving field of respiratory therapy.” – MoreRTs
It is no secret that the world needs more respiratory therapists. Throughout the United States there is a shortage of all kinds of healthcare providers and RTs are no exception. Results from the AARC HR survey show that 87 percent of RTs believe there is a current shortage in the field. Many reasons contribute to this, an aging U.S. population, growing incidences of respiratory disorders, and more respiratory diagnostic needs, just to name a few.
To help combat this issue, the AARC started Be An RT back in January of 2020 and the Respiratory Care Collaborative comprised of AARC, NBRC, and CoARC, act as campaign sponsors for MoreRTs. Both of these campaigns were created to spread awareness for the profession and the need for more RTs.
AARC Attends Annual HOSA Event
Another way the AARC is tackling this hurdle is by partnering with the Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA).
“HOSA is a global student-lead organization recognized the U.S. Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services and several federal and state agencies. HOSA’s mission is to empower HOSA-Future Health Professionals to become leaders in the global health community, through education, collaboration, and experience. HOSA actively promotes career opportunities in the health industry and to enhance the delivery of quality health care to all people.” – HOSA
Earlier this year, the AARC established a partnership with HOSA, and recently exhibited at the 2023 HOSA International Leadership Conference in Dallas, TX, on June 21-24. Just over 12,000 middle school, and high school students and HOSA advisors attended the conference, where they were excited and interested to learn about the RT profession.
During the event, the AARC conducted two RT–led workshops, allowing students and advisors to learn more about respiratory care, and to get hands–on experience with pediatric and adult intubation and more.
With the help of the AARC Marketing and Communications Staff and the AARC Workforce Recovery Taskforce, AARC’s attendance at the annual HOSA event was a huge hit.
AARC COO Doug Laher, Alysia Osorio, BSRC, RRT – NPS, Respiratory Care Clinical Coordinator at Collin College, Teri Miller, M.Ed., RRT, CPFT, FAARC, the Chair of the Respiratory Therapy Department at Middle Georgia State University and the head of the Workforce Recovery Taskforce, and David Gibson, BS, RRT, RCP, who is the Respiratory Care Supervisory/Educator at Medical City Dallas, were onsite providing expert information to students and educators alike.
“This is just the beginning,” said Miller. “It is going to be so important for Respiratory Therapists, those in our affiliates and our RT educators to engage with HOSA, support local conferences, and local HOSA chapters in their communities. As we share the story of the Respiratory Therapist, we need to do it nationally, but also on the state and local levels, too. Inviting HOSA groups to tour an RT program and laboratory, serving as a volunteer at a local HOSA event, or exhibiting and sponsoring a workshop at a state HOSA meeting are all examples of ways Respiratory Therapists can connect early with our future colleagues. Now is the time and we need to connect with these students and share. I am so excited about the potential of this collaboration!”
Onward and Upward
Attending this annual event was just scratching the surface of the AARC’s involvement with HOSA. In the months and years to come, the AARC will partner with HOSA to create curriculum, in order to join the HOSA Competitive Events Program. This program is designed to motivate students and provide a system for recognizing the competencies they develop through Health Science and Biomedical Science class instruction at the middle and high school levels, thus, bringing respiratory therapy to participating school classrooms across the country.
“HOSA has been and will continue to be a gateway for the AARC to utilize to address the profession’s workforce shortage,” said Laher. “These students are aspiring future healthcare providers who simply need to be introduced to the RT profession. While the AARC represented the profession at the international meeting this month in Dallas, we’ll need engagement from our affiliates at state and local meetings before we’ll see exponential success.”
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