Show How Your Team Cares

 Published: August 29, 2019

By: Heather Willden


photo of El Camino Health team members hosting an information table at the community health fair
El Camino Health team members host an information table at their community health fair

This Respiratory Care Week, show your colleagues and community how your team cares for patients. We asked AARC Members to share examples of how their team demonstrates their care for patients.

Get Ready to Celebrate #RCWEEK19

Building Unity

photo of El Camino Health team
Members of the El Camino Health team

For Kathryn Carpenter, BA, RRT, AE-C, respiratory care specialist at El Camino Health in Mountain View and Los Gatos, CA, caring means uniting.

“Our hospital has two campuses, one larger with higher acuity than the other. Most RCPs are cross-trained to work in both places,” Carpenter said.

She says that the El Camino Hospital’s Respiratory Care Services Department is unique in that it has:

  • The main RT staff who work bedside therapies and procedures (including bronchoscopy, ICU, NICU, and emergency care).
  • An RT team of 10 who specialize in interventional pulmonology cases.
  • A team of five Respiratory Care Specialist bedside educators in chronic respiratory disease management in-patient and out-patient follow-up and partner with the pulmonary rehab team on an occasional basis.

To build unity and strengthen community outreach, the department takes part in the hospital’s annual Men’s and Women’s health fairs, which are open to the public. The respiratory care team hosts a booth at the individual fairs.

The leadership team communicates regularly with medical directors about all aspects of their respiratory care services to build on that bond of trust and communication.

Lastly, they host an active Respiratory Care Week, celebrating for the entire seven days with provided meals, informational talks, display tables for the public, and their now-famous RT Olympics complete with a friendly competition of goofy games involving tools of the trade.


photo of the Winchester Medical Center respiratory therapy team
Winchester Medical Center respiratory therapy team

“One way that our team demonstrates they care is by participating in morning huddles,” said Stephanie Willard, BSRT, RRT-NPS, respiratory therapy clinical operations manager at Winchester Medical Center.

Through these huddles, her team takes time to recognize and celebrate each other, raise awareness on high acuity patients, address equipment or process concerns, and focus on the organization’s driving strategies.

“The information and knowledge that arises during this time are instrumental to providing outstanding patient care,” Willard said. “I consider myself extremely lucky to work alongside this team!”

Put a priority on caring

photo of the Cleveland Clinic Pulmonary Function Lab team
The Cleveland Clinic Pulmonary Function Lab team

At the Cleveland Clinic Pulmonary Function Lab, Kathryn Ickes, MS, RRT, RPFT, AE-C, PFT lab supervisor, and her team keep “care” the focus in their practice.

“The culture of our organization puts a priority on caring: for our patients, our caregivers, the community we serve and the organization itself,” Ickes said. “Our team cares for others as they (or their family members) would expect to be treated.”

They also have a strong presence in outreach events, such as spirometry screenings in the community.

“This demonstrates our dedication to the profession by promoting lung health while providing patient education,” Ickes said.

graphic showing Patients Caregivers Community Organization with CARE at the center

Caring by educating

photo of Jacksonville State University team taking part in camp WheezeAway
Jacksonville State University respiratory therapy students help host Camp WheezeAway

“The Respiratory Therapy students at Jacksonville State University care about our community and the health of others,” said Andres Crawley, MSEd, RRT, RRT-NPS, director of clinical education.

Each year, the students participate in Camp WheezeAway, a free camp for children with asthma. At this camp, the respiratory therapy students teach the children how to properly use their inhalers and peak flow meters.

“They also show kids that it is ok to play outside, even when you have asthma, as long as you are aware of your triggers and how to properly treat (and prevent) them,” Crawley said. “Education on prevention and treatment reduces the number of ER visits and hospital admissions.”

Show us how your team cares!

Respiratory Care Week 2019 is Oct. 20-26, and it’s a great chance to reach out to your community, patients, and colleagues, and share your story. Let them know about the many unique benefits and care respiratory therapists bring each day to their patients. Check out the AARC tools to help plan your celebrations!

Email 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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