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Diagnostics

August 1, 2019

What is a Diagnostician in Respiratory Therapy?

Hi Everyone,

  My name is Avruti (Happy) Patel and am the Newsletter reporter for this section.  I have been a Respiratory Therapist for 20 years. I started my career as an in-patient therapist and transitioned to outpatient about 10 years ago when I joined the Department of Veterans Affairs. As a Respiratory Therapist, I believe that it’s important to put your health in the hands of professionals you trust when it comes to Pulmonary, Sleep and Allergy issues. As a Respiratory professional, performing proper diagnostic testing is essential for treatment. Diagnostic testing can range from simple spirometry which measures lung capacity and can screen for diseases such as asthma and COPD to full Pulmonary Function Testing which will evaluate a large array of Pulmonary Diseases.

Commitment to Quality

I have found that conducting research in diagnostics is more feasible than in critical care; especially in a non-academic center like mine. I am still involved in critical care and believe that my assessments and decision-making in the ICU are better because of what I have learned about pulmonary physiology and sleep disorders in the PFT and Sleep lab.

Attaining the RPFT

Attaining the NBRC RPFT credential was an important moment in my career since, I felt it was important to distinguish myself as not just another RT who also does PFTs. Several co-workers who heard that I was planning to take the RPFT exam voiced skepticism about the prospects of passing the test on my first attempt. “That’s the hardest NBRC test to pass,” they said, and “Most people fail that test.” I am also going to pursue my RPSgt or what’s now called as SDS credential to assist our veterans who suffer from PTSD leading to various types of sleep disorders.

Comfort, Accessibility and Cost Vs Detailed, Accuracy and Comprehensiveness

When it comes to comfort many of our patients suffering with sleep disorders are wary of sleep testing because of the inconvenience or discomfort of spending the night in a sleep center. In-center testing can also be cost prohibitive, especially with the rise in insurance plan co-pays and high deductibles.  For this type of patients, fortunately, HST (home sleep apnea testing) is providing an increasingly convenient and comfortable alternative to sleeping in a sleep center for qualifying personals as per Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine Clinical Guidelines.  The major advantage of in-lab sleep testing is due to its detailed, accurate and comprehensive results. It can detect or rule a variety of sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, narcolepsy and periodic limb movement disorder.

 

Great Satisfaction in Pulmonary Diagnostics and Sleep

Some may view pulmonary function and sleep testing as a boring job because you do the same tests repeatedly. However, a patient’s diagnosis, need for medication, or suitability for potentially life-saving surgery can hinge on the PFT and sleep results a technologist submits for interpretation. I can enjoy great satisfaction in knowing that I have prepared myself and our lab to serve our veterans well by consistently reporting accurate, high-quality data. When it comes to sleep, we also follow up with our patients at 30days after initial setup and then 6 months to annual follow up this wireless monitoring via the ResMed MyAirView. We also have access for pt.’s with NIV and CPAP issues through an app called MyHealthyVet and phone-line. 

As with any profession, there are ups to this career path and, of course there are downs. I have enjoyed my experiences as a Respiratory Therapist and as a diagnostician.

Please help us make the newsletter a forum for news ideas and growth. Review the submission guidelines and send them my way. I look forward to working with you all.

Avruti (Happy) Patel BSRT, RRT, RPFT Avruti.Patel@va.gov.


Patient Safety Leadership Course

When: September 16-18, 2019

Where: University Club (University Tower, 17th Floor) 3100 Tower Blvd, Durham, NC 27707

Description: This course is where safety, science, and psychology meet in a comfortable common ground. We cover data, structures, tools, and frameworks for patient safety, quality improvement, evidence based executive rounding, safety culture, and more. The Duke Center for Healthcare Safety and Quality has provided this course both in the US and internationally since 2009. This course is applicable to anyone who works in a healthcare setting (clinical or non-clinical).

Link to info and registration: https://www.hsq.dukehealth.org/safety-leadership-courses/

 

TeamSTEPPS Master Trainer Course
When: September 26-27, 2019

Where: University Club (University Tower, 17th Floor) 3100 Tower Blvd, Durham, NC 27707

Description: Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety (TeamSTEPPS) is an evidence-based set of teamwork tools, aimed at optimizing patient outcomes by improving communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals. The Master Training Course is a 2-day in person course with a train-the-trainer approach. This approach educates participants on the TeamSTEPPS Fundamentals content, provides them with resources for training others, and ensures that they gain the knowledge and training required to implement and coach the behaviors needed to achieve positive results. This course is taught by—and produces—Master Trainers.

Link to info and registration: https://www.hsq.dukehealth.org/teamwork-courses/


MSRC
 
The UNC Charlotte MSRC program started in 2017 and we are entering our third academic year. We have 27 graduate students currently enrolled and we will be welcoming a new group of students to the program this fall. We had our first graduates from the program in spring and summer 2019. Congratulations to Tammy Equan, Gretchen Guelcher, Stephanie King, Brian Ring, and Thomas Nietman. In addition, Brian Ring will be joining UNC Charlotte as faculty for the BSRT and MSRC programs starting in August. 
 
One of the main questions we get is “What can I do with a master’s degree in respiratory therapy?” My typical first response is that it depends on your goals. The MSRC program is designed to prepare RTs to assume roles in RT leadership, research, education, and clinical patient care. The program uses a case- and project-based approach so that students apply what they learn to address real issues in their department or organization. 
 
There will be many vacant leadership and education positions in the coming years due to retirements and we need RTs who are ready to assume these roles as they become available. We also need graduate prepared RTs caring for patients. Reducing length of stay, ventilator days, and COPD readmissions are critical roles perfect for RTs to take the lead. The MSRC program will increase your knowledge and skills in disease management and advanced mechanical ventilation to provide better patient care and serve as consultants at the bedside.
 
Continuing education
 
We will be releasing a survey in August to get your input on continuing education needs including, but not limited, to topic areas, delivery format, and ways to improve the annual symposium. Your participation and feedback are important to us. So, please be on the look out for an email invitation from the NCSRC to participate in the survey. We plan to provide a link on the NCSRC website for direct access. We look forward to hearing from you!