RC Week is a Good Time to Reflect on Our History

 Published: October 2, 2019

By: Heather Willden


screenshot image of AARC Virtual Museum

Any RT who has been in the profession for any length of time knows respiratory care is not a well-known or well understood field. How can therapists change that situation for the better?

Celebrate RC Week

One great way would be to devote at least some of your National Respiratory Care Week activities this Oct. 20-26 to educating your communities of interest about the history of the profession. You can find everything you need to do that in the AARC’s Virtual Museum. Former AARC President and current Virtual Museum Committee Chair Trudy Watson, BS, RRT, FAARC, elaborates for us in this Q&A.

Q&A With Trudy Watson

Respiratory Care Week is quickly approaching — why is this is a great time for RTs to be thinking about the history of their profession and why is the Virtual Museum the perfect place for anyone to go to learn more about how the profession has evolved over the years?

Respiratory Care Week provides an annual opportunity to celebrate respiratory therapists, to raise awareness of our profession, and to reflect on the growth in our profession. The galleries in the AARC Virtual Museum feature the major milestones in the profession as well as the changes in key equipment and modalities. The images in the museum can help each of us appreciate just how far the profession has progressed.

How did the Virtual Museum come about and how is it helping to spread the word about the profession?

Although the AARC had historical documents dating back to the establishment of the professional association, we did not have a pictorial chronology of respiratory care’s history. We’ve collected a number of images to highlight the equipment, inventions, modalities, and leaders since the profession began. We’ve received a number of requests to use images from the museum in textbooks, videos, conference presentations, and college courses. The galleries of early equipment may help respiratory therapists truly appreciate the many advancements in clinical practice and technology over the years.

What’s new in the museum this year and what do you have on tap for the rest of the year and beyond?

The committee continues to collect and add vintage images and new content to our existing galleries in the museum. We have two new galleries “under construction” that we plan to launch this calendar year, with more galleries planned for next year.

How can RTs take advantage of the Virtual Museum as they plan their RC Week activities?

Some departments and educational programs have used content from the museum galleries to create trivia searches and equipment identification games. Others have included images from the Virtual Museum in presentations to showcase the evolution of the profession at their staff development meetings and for their community education programs.

Help build the museum

Do you have photos or other images related to the history of respiratory care? As always, the committee welcomes contributions from AARC members. You can send them to Asha Desai desai@aarc.org. Be sure to let Asha know you are submitting the photos for the Virtual Museum in your email.

Gear up for #RCWEEK19

Looking for some great RC Week gear? Find it in the RC Week Store.

Email newsroom@aarc.org with questions or comments, we’d love to hear from you.

Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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