As healthcare professionals we have a duty to guide patients in making better decisions based on more current, accurate and proven knowledge.
First we need to be up to date with the latest guidelines and knowledge in our field.
Second, we need to create an open and comfortable space for your patients so they can be open about their thoughts and their choices.
Third, be aware of the latest trends and claims so you can educate your patients on false claims.
Tired but still showed up.
Didn’t know many people but still made the effort.
Growth and networking is not easy. Requires genuine attempt to listen to others.
But is exciting and rewarding.
Except no outcome but to learn and you get the most out of the interactions.
Make an effort. Meet people in other fields.
As I sit down with patients and discuss smoking cessation, I actively try to stay open and to hold back any judgment. I hope for an honest discussion on their part as well. I share with my patients that everyone’s journey is different and there is validity in their struggle. Smoking has a physical, social and psychological aspect to it.
I am not a smoker and have never been addicted to nicotine. Could I truly be empathetic to a smoker? Sure! I believe we all can be more empathetic without going through the same experience by listening to people.
Coffee is my addiction.
I have been drinking coffee since my first year of undergrad. It began as a necessity to allow me to read through pages of Kinesiology and Psychology notes at York University. Drinking coffee continued even post-graduation. Again, it became my crutch while studying respiratory therapy at school, during my clinical rotations and while working as a staff RT at an acute care hospital. Even when I stopped working in the acute care setting, every day I drank a total of two medium Tim Horton’s cups of coffee.
As a self-awareness and reflective process, I decided to limit my caffeine.
For the past three weeks, my caffeine intake has been limited to decaffeinated coffee. Even within the first three days, I experienced some expected changes. I felt more tired in the afternoons. My heart rate was lower and didn’t have the sensation of beating at the “top” of my chest. My ongoing general and social anxiety has reduced to almost non-existent, and I urinate less frequently.
I have also experienced two elements that I did not predict or expect. First, I expected to have some irritability or withdrawals but experienced none. This may be due to my daily consumption of decaffeinated coffee as it contains a small amount of caffeine.
Second and unanticipated to me, I began to have more dreams! In the past, I would wake up once or maybe twice a week knowing that I had dreamt. Now I wake up every morning, knowing that I have! It is my guesstimate that with a medium size coffee in the morning and one in the afternoon, caffeine’s six-hour half-life never had a chance to clear my system in time to allow me a restful sleep.
Literature and studies go back and forth on the benefits of coffee, and this post will not attempt to cover that information. The goal of this post is not to change your drinking habits (unless you experience general anxiety associated with an increase in heart rate and have a pattern of low quality sleep).
What did I learn from this “experiment”? In this self-awareness exercise, I had the assumption that greatly reducing my caffeine after 15 years would be very difficult. Also, that it would lead to severe withdrawals over the first few days. Luckily that was not the case.
I did not decide to suddenly stop drinking coffee and instead, settled for decaf because I really enjoy the smell and taste of coffee! Sometimes it is hard to change the social, lifestyle and behavioural patterns and routines.
Did this experience lead to a groundbreaking insight and further deepen my empathy with my patients who smoke? The truthful answer is not really. I felt that I already had a supportive mindset toward my patients. While this exercise did not necessarily make me a better clinician, I do enjoy the personal benefits of limited caffeine consumption. I still occasionally drink regular coffee but almost all my coffee and tea is decaffeinated. The reduced heart rate and associated lower anxiety symptoms and increased dreams are great benefits.
I encourage you to identify and challenge some of your held beliefs and routines. If you are on the right path, then it will re-confirm your choices. If not, you can explore new possibilities.
Through self-development, hurdles, struggles, and victories you can be more aware of the processes involved in change. Sometimes awareness itself can make one more empathetic.
At the Pulmonary Function Testing lab we assess and monitor patients who have Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
“Interstitial lung disease may be a manifestation of RA or may be a complication of RA therapies, such as methotrexate and leflunomide.” -Daniel Aletaha, MD and Josef S. Smolen, MD.
If you want to learn more about RA, check out:
Diagnosis and Management of Rheumatoid Arthritis-A Review. Oct 2 2018
Recreational marijuana use is becoming legal in Canada in just few days. With the political, legal and financial debates aside, there are health concerns that the public, users and healthcare providers need to be aware of. I have attended few talks on this topic and have read few articles that cover this issue in details. While I did not become an expert, I have noticed a common message:
Inhalation of marijuana can lead to temporary and permanent damage of respiratory system.
Review and share this collection of Questions and Answers by CBC: ok https://www.cbc.ca/amp/1.4856021
Avoid and limit your inhalation of airway irritants.
I was checking my Facebook app on my phone where I received a notification from 7 years ago.
Divi standing in front of the board and walking us through the formula. We watched as he went through the steps and the reasoning. I guess I had put down my probably third cup of coffee of the day to capture this image. Watching this process unfold was a smile-worthy experience that I wanted to record and share.
Seven years ago, I was a student at The Michener Institute. A group of us sitting in the library working through math questions as we tried to apply them to respiratory care. There was a lot of information that was covered at a fast pace. Some of us, including myself, had weekend jobs, which meant even less time to get comfortable with the material. I had completed my undergrad just prior to this program, so being a student was not foreign to me, however, I felt the pressure. Luckily, I was not alone. When faced with a common challenge, people get together and unite. With each person having their strengths, we stepped up to help the group at different times and in different ways. I can say with confidence that without my classmates, my time as a student could have been a lot more difficult.
I encourage you to spend the time to identify your strengths and weaknesses. This time, not because a course requires you to complete a questionnaire or because you have to write an assignment about it. Do it for yourself. Be honest with yourself. What are the areas that you could ask others for assistance in? What are your strengths, and how can you utilize them to help others?
So share with us… what are you doing to give back? How has a colleague or a mentor made a difference in your life? What can you do today to make a difference in the lives of others?
To have a better understanding of PFT maneuvers, watching the RT/technician screen as the patient performs these steps may be helpful for some students.
I have uploaded 4 videos (SVC, Spirometry, Body Plethysmography, and DLCO).
Keep in mind that these are for demonstration purposes only, and software models and standards can change.