If you watch cable TV you may have already seen the Special K “Own it” marketing campaign that encourages women –no matter what their shape or situation is – to “proudly own it all”. It’s an interesting shift in perspective for a product that has always marketed itself to women as a diet cereal – but the ads are a refreshing change nonetheless. The concept of taking ownership rather than laying blame elsewhere for our situation is something we can apply across the board – including in our professional practice (come on, you knew I was going to bring this around to practice at some point).

We “own” the title Registered Respiratory Therapist in a number of ways – by maintaining the highest possible standard for ourselves in our practice, by conducting ourselves in a professional manner, and by meeting all the requirements of our certificate of registration. One of most basic registration requirements – and one that most of us are all too aware of – is to renew our membership on an annual basis and pay our registration fee on time. Seems straight forward enough and, for the majority of RRTs, it is. However, every year a certain number of RRTs don’t renew their Membership and their certificates of registration are suspended. That’s bad enough because now they have reinstatement fees to pay in addition to the renewal fee. Even worse, though, is the fact that they are not permitted to work with a suspended certificate of registration. It is really no different than our driver’s license – we renew and pay so that we can drive. If we choose not to renew that license – we don’t (or shouldn’t) drive because driving with an expired or suspended license is a serious offense. Practicing as an RRT with a suspended certificate of registration is also a serious offense – and one that could have far-reaching consequences (think referral to discipline for professional misconduct).

I don’t think any RRT looks forward to paying their yearly renewal fees. Apparently there are people in this world for which money is no object, but I have never met them. Most of us have just a bit less money than we would like to have and could probably find other things to do with $500 ($600 if you have to pay the late fee). But we are regulated professionals and so we have to own up to all that this entails – practicing with competence and integrity – and yes – renewing our Membership on time so that we can proudly call ourselves an RRT.