As I finish up my bachelors (not in respiratory) and look forward to a future in PA, Anesthesia, or Advanced Basket Weaving I am concerned about the quality of students being produced even by the accredited RT programs. Most new grads that I meet seem to just be at the technician level and many older RT's that I work with are more than happy to remain neb jockeys with the exception of a very few. In fact the older RT's suffer from a severe case of apathy and have absolutely no desire to do anything more let alone critically think. When they are called out on this the defensive response is enough to get you written up for being considered hostile because you asked a "peer" to do his or her job. All I see around me is education inflation. Soon a BS will be the requirement for people who already do the same job but with an associates. Then a Masters will be the requirement for what was once an associates...I've heard rumors about at least one university starting a Master's level RCP program with the goal to be an independent practitioner, but I would like to know if there really is a demand for this position, and who is hiring for this? Why hire an advanced RT when you could hire a NP or PA that gets reimbursed more than RT? With the glass ceiling currently remaining as low as it is for RTs, what do you think the future holds for respiratory care?
Robert Kacmarek wrote his opinion on the question in the June 2013 issue of Resspiratory Care.
Mechanical Ventilation Competencies of the Respiratory Therapist in 2015 and Beyond
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