Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Patient vs. Profit

I want to thank all of those that have inspired me in the RT field, such as Respiratory Therapy Driven, the RT cave, and etc. I recommend reading their blogs and familiarizing yourself with the on going discussions that go on. Through their experiences I have learned the goods and the bads about the RT career field.

It is hard to understand the balance between the importance of patient care vs. profit. The RT cave touches on this subject a bit. Doctors often request treatments on patient that, well lets face it, are not always necessary. Sometimes it becomes a matter of money.

I currently have two small children and often times they develop ear infections. It almost seems pointless everytime they get an infection to make a trip to the doctors office and pay the $20 co-pay, just to have the doctor prescribe amoxicillin. It is not difficult to tell when a child has an ear infection, they are irritable, tired, grab and scratch their ears. Even I can make that observation and I have little to no experience in the medical field. So needless to say, it is not unreasonable to think that not everything that doctors say is doctrine.

On the other hand, hospitals do need an income and they are still a business that has net incomes and provides money making jobs to many people?

Of course, many people that go into the medical field say "I want to help people" or "I want to make a difference" even though these are very typical sayings, it is for the most part true.

I believe I have room to speak here because I have been in and out of jobs, that I feel, are not important. Not that these jobs don't help, because when you get down to it, who is going to transport the groceries to the stores, or help someone buy a house, or spray pesticides in an infested area. Of course, these jobs (or careers) are all important and someone has to do it. However, I cannot think of anything more important than the gift of breath, if I can be an instrument in helping someone accomplish that, then I "gotta have it."

Now, I don't want to talk it up on the RT side of things and have you think that it is all glamorous. Because I am sure that I will face things that it will make me wonder why I even got in to this field. For me, I am a goal oriented person, I like to accomplish projects and see the results transpire in front of my eyes. I guess you could say that I need that instant gratification. That is exactly why it will be difficult when I do lose a patient because I will hold myself personally responsible.

The fact of the matter is that a hospital has to produce an income and people need help. The difficult part is not to get side tracked from what really matters. What really matters is that people get hurt, have diseases, and need help. It is easy to get in that mode, where all that matters is the quarterly projections, and yes while these number are important, you have to remember those that we treat are real people not just numbers. The reason that the numbers are important is because the numbers depend on whether or not the hospital stays open or if they can expand their resources and provide more help and opportunity for others.

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