[RECESS] is when we get to hear the stories of the good people behind the pop-up. It's our favourite time and we're happy to share the conversations with you.
Last week we announced #RTpopup opening up for two-days later this month at 434 Columbia St.
The brief pop-up will create an engaging space for the public and respiratory therapist behind our health care system to interact in an unexpected environment. The concept is simple. #RTpopup is moving the conversation out of the traditional clinic environment and bringing it to a more readily accessible public space. Bonus: they're offering free sleep studies and breathing tests for anyone who visits the pop-up.
We spent nine minutes (or 108 breaths to be exact) with #RTpopup founder and respiratory therapist Lily Cheung to find out more about what to expect when they open this unexpected pop-up on next week.
@thisopenspace: Tell us how the idea for this pop-up come about.
Lily Cheung: As Respiratory Therapists, we take one week a year to focus on alternative ways to reconnect the profession with everyone we interact with: whether it be the community, other healthcare disciplines, or each other as therapists. It’s an opportunity for us to reflect on where we are as a discipline and how we can develop further in our practice. It’s the perfect time to connect with the community because it provides an opportunity for therapists to reach outside of a traditional hospital or clinic setting. It’s important to connect with the public on a platform where someone isn’t already pre-occupied with a sick loved one who may be getting treatment at the clinic or hospital. Plus, those environments tend to make us fall too much into our patient/therapist roles, which is not the balance we’re seeking for this event. The pop-up offers a neutral space to connect with one another. Plus, pop-ups are fun! Why can’t a health care event be fun too!
And how did you connect with the group of respiratory therapists who'll be part of the event?
LC: What’s so great about organizing this event is that it continually reminds me of all the great therapists I’ve met through my career. I’ve been able to reconnect with a lot of old colleagues and college mates and have initiated the conversations I hope to engage in at the pop up event. This event has also allowed me to connect with organizations such as BC Lung Association and Asthma Society of Canada: organizations that share a lot of the same goals and interests. Working together on an event like this strengthens the connections we’ll make to the community on both a personal and professional level. Plus, reaching out to the community and developing the relationship is part of the continuum of care. It’s about inspiring one another to personally make us accountable for our own health.
Do you think there needs to be more public awareness of cardio-respiratory health? Does it receive enough attention in our current health system?
LC: When people think of healthcare and their providers, typically you hear doctor and nurses, but a modern day health care system comprises of so much more. The team alongside those doctors and nurses are professionals such as pharmacists, lab and imaging specialists, social workers, and even Respiratory Therapists! The multi disciplinary approach is what provides the complete picture for each community member in the health care system. Creating a public awareness event like this one serves to benefit everyone who gets involved because we all come away more aware of what’s actually happening in our health care systems. This event just happens to focus on cardiopulmonary health and more specifically: Respiratory Therapy.
It's definitely going to be a different environment compared to a hospital or clinic. How do you think this will influence everyone's experience?
LC: The environment is relaxed, fun and interactive. We want the community to come and ask questions, make connections to choices that could lead to a healthier lung lifestyle.
What do you think will be the biggest draw of the event? What are the RT's most excited for?
LC: Each individual will have their own prerogative for attending, but for the community, they might know somebody who is trying to quit smoking and maybe they want to come to the event to talk to somebody who can steer them to the right resources. Some people might be looking for a career change and will come to check out the specialized equipment we use and find out if this could be a career for them. Others are just curious and want to get their vitals checked and get a free breathing test. For the Respiratory Therapists, it’s a destination to connect with one another and celebrate their colleagues who are sharing their stories in the gallery.