Respiratory Therapists Facing Challenges While Fighting COVID-19

From WKRN.com – Nashville

Respiratory Therapist in ICUby: Elizabeth Lane, WKRN Web Staff
Posted: Apr 21, 2020 / 05:47 AM CDT / Updated: Apr 21, 2020 / 06:47 AM CDT


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Some on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are facing some of the toughest challenges as part of this crisis.

Respiratory therapists are dealing with unprecedented struggles while trying to help patients recover from the coronavirus.

When a patient has trouble breathing, a respiratory therapist is called to their bedside around the clock.

Troubled breathing is one of the top symptoms of COVID-19 and the respiratory therapists are unsung heroes fighting on the front lines alongside doctors and nurses.

President of the Tennessee Society for Respiratory Care Susan Parsons said her therapists must change masks and protective gear for every new patient they treat. That process slows them down as they move from patient to patient.

“To do all of that and work in a patient’s room, not only can your body heat make you hot and start sweating, that’s a big challenge to have to go from room to room, dress out, wash your hands, take all of that equipment off, and then wash your hands with soap and water and moving to the next patient, that obviously slows you down,” explained Parsons.

She said respiratory therapists train their entire career to respond to diseases like coronavirus.

Parsons added the only way to guarantee you won’t catch COVID-19 is by not being exposed and social distancing — or at the very least wearing a mask — is the only way to keep that from happening.

“Opening things back up, I understand we can’t go forever like this, and it’s probably going to take some models that I’ve seen, two years plus before we can get vaccines on board, get people vaccinated and keep these cases from coming up. But in the meantime, people have to wear a mask covering their mouth and covering their nose,” said Parsons.

AARC Asks That RTs Be Added to Heroes Fund

Today the AARC sent a letter to House and Senate Congressional leaders urging them to specifically recognize respiratory therapists as essential health care providers for the lifesaving care they are delivering to patients with COVID-19 in any legislative provision that authorizes hazard pay for essential workers, like the Heroes Fund proposal. We also reminded them we sent a letter earlier asking that RTs be included as telehealth practitioners in any additional stimulus package being developed.

Heroes Fund FINAL 4.7.20

TSRC State Convention Postponed


  • Out of risk mitigation considerations and the health of attendees, the TSRC Executive Comittee of the Board of Directors has POSTPONED the TSRC State Convention scheduled for March 30-31, 2020.
  • Convention is rescheduled for November 9-10, 2020.
  • Those who have already registered will not have to re-register for November.
  • For any questions, contact your Chapter President or President Elect, or other BOD member

TSRC 2020 Reunion Party & Dance at State Convention

On Monday, November 9th, from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM the TSRC will host a 2020 Reunion Party & Dance in the Hilton Memphis Grand Ballroom. We will have a live band, Twin Soul, providing music for our event.

For convention attendees, your registration fee includes admission to the reunion party. For therapists and friends not attending the TSRC State Convention, there will be a $10 cover charge.

2020 TSRC State Convention Program Agenda

Go to the TSRC 2020 STATE CONVENTION page to register and play a video from Twin Soul. If you’re not attending the convention, you can still purchase your ticket for the party and dance on the event page.

Twin Soul,TSRC 2020 State Convention

Introducing the TSRC Students Page

We have added a new section to the TSRC website, the Students page! We hope that RT students throughout Tennessee will be inspired by the new section, and support it by sending content. Respiratory Care program directors in Tennessee are encouraged to send news and articles about projects their students are undertaking or have completed.

To kickoff the new section, Kylie Marshall has provided a brief article, and a video of her trip to the 2018 AARC Congress and House of Delegates. The article and video can be seen here: https://tntsrc.org/students/.

Thank you Kylie, for helping to get the Students page going.

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