18th September 2021
RE: STIPEND AND OTHER BENEFITS FOR RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTITIONERS.
This letter is addressed to you by and on behalf of 120 Respiratory Care Practitioners (RPC) employed and operating from [insert medical institution]. As from March 2020, RPCs the healthcare sector has provided medical support and treatment in the battle with Covid19, which disease has breached every corner of the world. RPCs have equally chosen to stand alongside their fellow practitioners in the healthcare sector to provide all available treatment against the Pandemic.
Covid-19 was a novel virus and we had to learn in real time what this would mean for [insert medical institution] and the patients for whom we would be caring. We prepared to care for a significant rise in respiratory patients to give the patients the best possible care and achieve the best outcome for everyone.
With wave after wave of the Covid19 variants, intensive care units are under immense strain, with the majority requiring continuous medical attention that goes above and beyond ordinary circumstances. RCP are no exception as they have been required to take up multiple additional shifts and treating multiple patients without adequate compensation for the additional shifts.
Registered Nurses employed and operating from [insert medical institution] are beneficiaries of stipends and favorable extra shift policies, which policy allocates to each nurse a stipend for each extra shift, and oversight over a maximum of two (2) patients during such shift. In addition, the Nurses are allowed to enjoy breaks in between shifts and are granted access to a “Lavender Room” for that purpose. This not only motivates the Nurses to take up extra shifts, but also assures less strain to meet the needs of their patients.
Unfortunately, the same courtesy has not been extended to RPCs as they neither receive a stipend, nor are they allocated a specific number of patients to attend to or provided with a break time and break facilities. Instead RCPs receiving extra shifts are expected to attend to any and all patients with no breaks or stipend to appreciate their efforts.
RCP staffs are relied upon to diagnose, treat, manage, prevent, and rehabilitate patients with cardiopulmonary abnormalities. Patients may suffer from Covid-19, asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, cystic fibrosis, coronary heart disease and many more. They play a key role particularly since March 2020.
RCPs are the only staff trained and qualified to operate ventilators, which machines are desperately needed to assist patients experiencing difficulties breathing as has been prevalent among Covid19 patients. RCPs are the personnel who initiate and also, sadly, remove life support from Covid19 patients when nothing else can be done. This exercise demands for interpersonal interaction with each and every patient that needs a ventilator. It is evident, and as you are already be aware, such interpersonal interaction exposes RCPs to high risk of contracting Covid19.
Furthermore, owing to patient isolation guidelines, patients are not able to enjoy the presence of their family and friends. As such, in addition to bedside medical care, RCPs are often the only persons present with Covid19 patients during their last minutes. It is the RPCs that hold the hands of the patients at their last hour, and It is also the RPCs that provide the patients with the comfort that they are not alone during their last hours.
Like several other medical practitioners across the country, RPCs are risking their lives and the health of their families to perform their essential duties. Consequently, RPCs feel stressed, burned out and fearful. It is increasingly unrealistic to ask them to carry on regardless without any appreciation for their sacrifice and commitment to the fight against Covid19.
If ever there was a time for their dedication and skill to be appreciated it is now. A stipend would help RPCs feel valued, by [insert medical institution] for their contributions. The pandemic has affected staff profoundly and many may not stay around when the job is done. Providing a stipend for extra shifts could persuade them to change their mind.
RCP staff are not simply motivated by pay. They do their jobs because they’re passionate about making people well again, and because they want to make a difference.
It’s time to do more than praise their courage and dedication. RCPs of [insert medical institution] request the following
- Stipends for extra shifts assumed by RPCs, which stipends shall be back-paid to March 2020;
- Provision of a break time during extra shifts; and
- Predetermined ratio to allocate RPCs to patients.
A fair policy with respect to extra shifts would not only make today’s health workers feel valued, it would also help attract and retain the many more that will be needed if safely staffed and world-leading services are to be achieved.
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