Letter to the Editor on "Who Does What in Health Care?"

Who Does What in Health Care?

November 1, 2000
in response to topic Who Does What in Health Care?

Dear Editor:

I write in response to the topic: Who Does What in Health Care. I am an RN with 28 years of experience. I have seen nursing go through many changes, but the current climate certainly harks back to the 50's and 60's. Is that what we want? I say this because my husband is an RRT (Registered Respiratory Therapist), with a bachelor's degree. Here in south Texas RT's (Respiratory Therapists) are being systematically "exterminated" by nursing. They have been laid off, because, as one nursing administrator put it, "Anyone can turn the dials on a ventilator." This was very demeaning to professionals with college degrees and CRRT (Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician) and RRT certification.

My husband's working hours have been cut. Most employees in his department now only get 24 hrs of work per week instead of full time, but it is called full time. We are drowning financially, as are his coworkers. Last night he came home and told me that the nursing supervisor told the RT's that they could make up lost hours by working as CNA's (Certified Nursing Assistants). Excuse me, but I was astounded at that! Granted, he can take a TPR and BP, but what does he know about skin care, bathing patients, etc. How would the CNA's feel to know that, although they have gone to school to be certified, just anyone can do their job, and even get paid more?

Nursing evidently has not gotten over the belief of the 50's and 60's that we can do everyone's job from housekeeping to physician's assistants, and everything in between. Now, I don't want to go back to collecting trash at the change of shift, scrubbing floors, and cleaning refrigerators, making out the lab slips and collecting all specimens. We thought we could do it all, and well. What a crock to think we can do it all and better than anyone else.

Rather, as nurses, let's learn to support and respect the other professions that have grown to support patient care over the years. They are licensed, have completed a college program at least two years in length, and must maintain CEU's just like we do. What gives us the right to think that we can do their job as well as our own? Only our vanity.

Come on nurses: wake up and support the other professions that we are currently trying to kill by our selfishness; make a difference for our patients.

Sally Tarasoff R.N. B.S.N.
Boerne, Texas