This year, more than ever before, our health care system is relying on the work of our Respiratory Therapists. The pandemic has brought a lot of uncertainty and challenging times, especially to our frontline workers who continue to navigate the COVID-19 crisis around the clock.
Join us in celebrating National Respiratory Therapy Week from October 25th to October 31st, where we have the opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate our hard-working Respiratory Therapists across our organization. While providing exceptional health care, each and every one of them has proven to be innovative as they adapt to the “new normal”, especially on the front lines. As an organization, we are so proud of the incredible work our team has accomplished as we come together to protect our community’s health.
What is Respiratory Therapist Week?
The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists (CSRT) celebrates Respiratory Therapy week annually to educate the public about the varied roles and responsibilities of respiratory therapists and to raise awareness of the significant contribution made by respiratory therapists across our healthcare system. September These highly trained health professionals dedicate themselves to providing the best possible cardio-respiratory care to patients of all ages by staying at the forefront of all available research and technology.
Many City Councilor’s and Mayor’s have made proclamations for RT week to show their support. The Mayor Ken Christian of the City of Kamloops responded with a proclamation on behalf of the initiative of one of our leaders at IH, Jacqueline Turvey, RRT, CRE, CTE in Kamloops. Mayor
“On behalf of Kamloops City Council, please accept our sincere thanks for the amazing work you perform daily. Your care and professionalism are greatly appreciated especially during this uncertain time.” – Mayor Ken Christian, City of Kamloops
Colin Basran of the City of Kelowna also made a proclamation for Respiratory Therapy Week,
“Respiratory Therapists are committed to providing quality care for those suffering from respiratory illness and those in life-threatening situations and Respiratory Therapists educate the public about lung health, and work alongside a team of medical staff mak[ing] critical decisions, and support those with breathing difficulties…” – Mayor Colin Basran of the City of Kelowna
Meet Our Respiratory Therapists
We interviewed Respiratory Therapists across our organization to spotlight some of the incredible workers behind the masks. Many of our Respiratory Therapists found inspiration to pursue their careers to help others in a health care environment and be directly involved in the care of patients. Tracee Gallant, RRT in Kamloops reflects on what inspired her to start her career.
“I really wanted to be a part of a multi-disciplinary health care team. The respiratory field is so diverse and we are able to work in many different areas such as acute care, long-term, home, diagnostic, and rehabilitation. As a community RT, I love working with clients in a group setting to educate and help them to build skills to self-manage their disease.” – Tracee Gallant, RRT, Kamloops
A common consensus among our RT’s is the love of empowering others through education. By sharing their knowledge they can help others build skills to self-manage their disease, feel safer, and improve their quality of life. Supporting their community is a priority for most RT’s and Tracee Gallant shares how her 8-week program, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, educates people with chronic lung conditions to manage their disease.
“I love being involved in a program that helps people improve their quality of life. It is so wonderful to hear client stories on how they have been able to reduce their shortness of breath and improve their quality of life. Every day, I get to do something I love and have a positive impact on people’s lives.” – Tracee Gallant, RRT, Kamloops
“I love my job because I know RTs are an integral part of the health care team. We participate in the first breath of our smallest patients, and we help our sickest patients take their last breath comfortably. I love that my colleagues take every situation in stride, no matter how emergent it is, and I love that most RTs have a sense of humour that propels us through the hard times. I feel that as a group, RTs stick together and weather the storm. I know that in the light of the global pandemic, respiratory staff around the globe are directly impacting the care and survival of our patients. ” – Shayla Sallis, RRT, Kamloops
Jacqueline Turvey, RRT, CRE, CTE, the Coordinator at Integrated Primary and Community Care Program/Primary Care Respiratory Therapist loves working within her community of Kamloops and supporting the Primary Care offices in a variety of cases. As an educator, every day at work she pursues her passion for helping others in their homes, physician offices, or in her own office.
One of her most satisfying projects was an Emergency Preparedness Class (specifically relating to forest fires) for her clients. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive, as they shared how they felt safer and more aware of what they can do to help their breathing stay in control during forest fires. It’s moments like these that bring everyone together and help us support each other through tough times.
“I love my job because it offers so much variety. Some days I feel like a detective trying to put together pieces of information to figure out how to best help one of my clients. There is so much job satisfaction in supporting a client and knowing that it is the support/information that we provided that is the thing that helps them feel better or improve their quality of life.” – Jacqueline Turvey, RRT
Looking back through her career Jacqueline reminiscences on opportunities she was able to experience as an RT. A highlight was participating as a volunteer for four years in an international project to Guyana called Global Access to Spirometry Project (GASP).
How To Become a Respiratory Therapist
Ashlee Freeman is currently a student Respiratory Therapist in Kamloops working in the ICU. Her favourite thing has been managing ventilated patients and working within such a dynamic team to come together to provide exceptional care to the patient. Plus, the adrenaline rush when you sink the line and the blood flow in the arterial lines!
“I chose Respiratory Therapy because I wanted a career in healthcare that would allow me to work hands-on with a variety of patients throughout the hospital. Since beginning the program, I have realized how integral Respiratory Therapists are to the healthcare team.” – Ashlee Freeman, Student RT, Kamloops
In British Columbia Thompson River University in Kamloops offers four programs to start your career as a Respiratory Therapist. The Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists has many resources on the schools and programs across Canada that also offer Respiratory Therapist schools.
If you’re looking to join Interior Health as a Respiratory Therapist please apply here. Thank you to our incredible team of Respiratory Therapists at Interior Health, we are so proud to have you a part of our team!
Ashley Freeman, Student Respiratory Therapist in Kamloops, BC.