• October is OT Month

    Posted in Taking Action

    Occupational Therapy Month
    October 2016

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  • Respiratory Therapist

    Respiratory therapists…dedicated to better breathing

    What is a Respiratory Therapist?

    Respiratory therapists (RTs) are highly skilled health care professionals. They care for patients by evaluating, treating, and maintaining cardiopulmonary (heart and lung) function. Respiratory therapists have specialized medical expertise and use advanced medical technology. They are educated to treat all age groups, from newborns to the elderly.

    Most respiratory therapists work in hospital settings, particularly high-risk areas.

    These areas include:

    • Intensive care units
    • Emergency departments
    • Operating rooms
    • Neonatal nurseries
    • General wards

    Respiratory therapists also work in:

    • Outpatient clinics
    • Specialized medical centers, such as sleep labs
    • Patients’ homes

    What is the role of a respiratory therapist?

    Respiratory therapists provide advanced life support for extremely ill patients. They help patients to keep breathing.

    Respiratory therapists:

    • Treat patients that have experienced trauma or are in surgery or intensive care
    • Help with cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
    • Stabilize high-risk patients being moved by air or ground ambulance
    • Provide support in high-risk deliveries for babies who have trouble breathing
    • Educate the public and patients on appropriate measures to be taken during an influenza pandemic
    • Provide information and instruction to health care workers on proper infection control practices particularly in the event of an infectious outbreak

    Where else do respiratory therapists work?

    Respiratory therapists also:

    • Help deliver anesthesia in the operating room
    • Administer inhaled drugs and medical gases such as asthma medication and oxygen
    • Do tests to measure lung function
    • Provide hyperbaric oxygen therapy
    • Provide rehabilitation services
    • Teach patients to manage a variety of medical conditions including asthma
    • Provide respiratory care to adults and children in their homes
    • Provide healthcare in various clinics related to breathing such as asthma, emphysema, or cystic fibrosis clinics
    • Administer and provide care in cardiac diagnostic clinics, pulmonary function clinics, and sleep disorder labs
    • Provide education to patients, members of other healthcare professions, and the public on topics like smoking cessation.
    • Advance the practice of respiratory therapy by doing research and creating clinical practice guidelines
    • Fill managerial and administrative positions
    • Work in different types of jobs in private industries such as medical equipment sales, service and clinical support

    How do I become a respiratory therapist?

    To become respiratory therapists, students follow educational programs offered by either community colleges or universities. Colleges offer a three-year diploma program and universities offer a four-year degree program.

    Respiratory therapy educational programs include both clinical and didactic components. The clinical component typically involves extensive hands-on training in a hospital setting.

    Generally, becoming a respiratory therapist requires:

    • Graduating from a training program accredited by the Council on Accreditation of Respiratory Therapy Education which is administered by the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists
    • Successfully completing a certification examination


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  • RT Week Oct. 23-29

    Posted in Taking Action

The Union of Healthcare Professionals

The Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA) is a labour union representing over 23,000 paramedical technical, professional and general support employees in the public and private health-care sectors of Alberta, Canada. HSAA maintains a head office in Edmonton and an office in Calgary.

by Luanne Climenhaga

They’re finally on their way. The family of Syrian refugees that HSAA is sponsoring to come to Canada has been cleared by the Canadian government and will arrive in Calgary between Oct. 25 and 27.

by Kim Adonyi-Keegan

Michael Parker, president of the Health Sciences Association of Alberta said AHS has been adding minimal resources to EMS over the last six-to-seven years. 

by Luanne Climenhaga

Voting closed for the 2016 Central District by-election at 12:00 noon on October 4 and the successful candidate is Scott Budgell.

by Luanne Climenhaga

The plan to bring Edmonton zone laboratory services back into the public sector will bring stability for Albertans who rely on these vital services and the workers who provide them, says the Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA).

by Luanne Climenhaga

Despite the declining unionization rates in Canada, unions are still pushing the envelope for workers' rights, says the leader of the province's largest union.