By Khalsa Al Siyabi, Senior Respiratory Therapist, Royal Hospital, Head of Respiratory Services, Ministry of Health, Oman
After development and evolution spanning more than 20 years, the profession of respiratory therapy has matured and come of age in the Sultanate of Oman. The profession marked its state of development in the Sultanate by celebrating its first Respiratory Care Week, Oct. 23-25, 2016.
The Royal Hospital marked the inaugural recognition with events designed to raise awareness of the respiratory care profession and the need for improved lung health. Photo exhibits showed RTs in action and RT stations demonstrated equipment for airway management, along with NIV and home care equipment, including oxygen concentrators and transport ventilators.
Omani physicians were introduced to the RT profession and worked with respiratory therapists while studying in the U.S. and Canada in the early 1990s. In 1994 the RT profession was introduced in the Royal Hospital and began by defining the duties and responsibilities of RTs and establishing a health professional education and training program. The Royal Hospital was the first site for RTs in Oman as it is the largest and main facility offering medical, surgical, renal, oncology, neurology, pediatric, and neonatal services.
Oman respiratory care services started from zero, with a lot of challenges resulting from having only one respiratory therapist and one nurse. Currently the RT department at Royal Hospital has a staff of 22 RTs serving the facility and providing 24 hour coverage for the patients. Today the RTs are welcomed and accepted by their physician and nurse colleagues. It is significant that, as of 2012, in an effort to improve patient care services, respiratory therapists have provided coverage in all regions of the Sultanate.
Since the establishment of RT in Oman we have been following the policies and procedures of the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). We are very proud of our accomplishments and the goals we have reached as real respiratory therapists. There is now interest in becoming members of the AARC.
For all these reasons, we celebrated our first Respiratory Care Week in Oman. To encourage involvement and stimulate further development of the profession, all RTs in the various regions of the Sultanate were recognized with awards for their accomplishments.