Hey all! Today's day in the life is Crissy, a respitoray therapist from Texas! Thanks for sharing Crissy!
Being a respiratory therapist has lots of pros and little cons. We are the critical thinkers in the hospital. Not only do we give people breathing treatments to people that have asthma, COPD(combination of asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema), and people with reactive airway disease we save lives. Going into this line of work I did not realize I would be doing this but quickly found out it is a very rewarding career! So I have picked out one of my busy days in the world of the Medical ICU at a big hospital in the Dallas area. I will be doing the time in military time as that is how we do it in the hospital.
0500- Alarm goes off. Time to start my second 12 hour shift in a row.
0600- Leave the house to get to work by 0630. We have to clock in by 0638 and no later than 0645.
0640- Told I need to go to the unit to get report from the night therapist because he is in a room fixing to help put a breathing tube in and place someone on a ventilator. On top of that I have 5 other patients on ventilators and a patient on a form of breathing treatments that help expand her lungs and we give her medication as well.
0645-Headed up to the unit and relieved the therapist from the room so he could give report to another therapist. Intubated the patient (which means put a breathing tube in their airway) and placed patient on the ventilator without any complications thanks goodness. While we are in the middle of that Im informed there is another patient that needs blood drawn to see if they need to be intubated as well.
0700- Go draw blood on the other patient that is just wearing a machine that pushes air into his lungs to help him remove CO2 in his blood so he can breathe better and not be so lethargic..
0710- The blood I drew looks awful. So we decide to place a breathing tube on him too. So in less than 30 minutes we have placed two breathing tubes. I haven't even seen the other 5 ventilator patients I have.
0740- Start checking on my assigned patients. Find out we have to go to Cat Scan with one patient that is on a ventilator. If the patient was just on oxygen I would not have to go but we use a portable ventilator to transport these patients. Thank goodness Head Cat Scans take at the most 15 minutes there and back. So I try to get thru all my ventilator checks before we have to go travel.
0820-Have checked all patients. We check the ventilators every four hours and giving them breathing treatments thru the ventilators. I have to make sure that the tape job that holds the tube in place looks good and the tube is in the right place. I retaped a few of them. Headed to get blood on the two patients that we intubated earlier in the morning to make sure the settings I placed them on will work out or if things need to be changed.
0840-Another coworker checks on me and she does a treatment for me!! Thank goodness because I felt behind.
0850-The two doctors in the unit that change orders went around to my other vent patients and were making changes so I have to go behind them and write them down.
0920-Now I sit down to finally get some charting in. We chart in two systems unfortunately that can take a good hour to finish.
0950-Grab something to eat real quick and Im told there is a ventilator patient in the ER that is coming to my unit but dont know when.
1000-We do rounds on every patient in the ICU. Sometimes this can last til 1100 or it can take 30 mins. This one took til 1045.
1045-Go set up a ventilator for the on coming ventilator.
1100-Start my therapy all over again. Instead of five ventilators I have 7 to attend to now.
1120- New patient arrives. 8 vents now and this one needs to go to Cat Scan too. Frustrated that ER didnt do this before coming up. Urgh.
1245-Get all vent checks done. Go grab a quick lunch.
1300-Headed to CT scan with the first patient that needed it done.
1320-Charted second rounds in the two systems.
1420-Changed tape on the patient from the OR before going to CT at 1430.
1500-New round starts with less vents. Thank goodness. Hoping my afternoon is better than my morning. I only have 5 of the 8 vents that I ended up with.
1615-Done with vent checks now time to chart again. I get so sick of computers by the time I leave work.
1700-Head down to the department to relax and eat a snack.
1800-Get a call that a patient needs to be looked at. Head up there and the patient just needed to be suctioned. Yes I get to pull some nasty stuff from peoples lungs but I dont have to deal with anything below the belly button and that makes me happy.
1840-Give report to the next therapist down in the department which was my husband!!! I have the luxury of working in the same department as my husband just opposite shifts. He works nights and I work days.
1908-Clock out and go home. Boy were my feet hurting after that day. Felt like I was on my feet a majority of the day. Not all days are this crazy but 70% of it is.
Being a therapist truly makes you appreciate life so much. Watching people struggle to breathe is one of the hardest things to watch. The feeling of helping people words cant explain. It truly makes my heart happy.
Thank you so much Crissy! It's so refreshing to hear from someone who cares passionately about what they are doing!
Do you work in the same field as your signficant other? Have you ever in the past? How does it/ did it go?