Spring is upon us and with it comes a season of new growth and beginnings.  Within the next few months, Respiratory Therapy in Ontario is set to grow with the graduation and registration of approximately 100 student RT’s.  It is an extremely exciting time for these graduates, who have studied in unprecedented times.  While they have had experiences and learning opportunities that very few graduating classes may ever be exposed to, it is still important to be aware of the limitations that are placed on a Graduate Certificate of Registration, and the responsibilities of the RRT’s supervising them.

GRT’s are permitted to perform almost all controlled acts authorized under the Respiratory Therapy Act provided it is under the general supervision of a regulated health professional who is authorized to perform it.  The exception is authorized act #5.

GRT’s can administer oxygen under authorized act #4 (“administering a substance by injection or inhalation”) with an order.  They are not permitted under act #5 (“administering a prescribed substance by inhalation”) because this legislation allows RRT’s to independently administer, titrate and discontinue oxygen without the requirement of an order.

 While both the RRT and the GRT are responsible for their own actions, there exists a shared responsibility that the GRT must be competent to perform the expected task and the RRT be physically present within 10 minutes to assist or take over the procedure.  Therefore, due to this requirement, the RRT must be fully competent in the skill that they are supervising.

Under a Graduate Certificate of Registration, members are not permitted to:

  • Change a trach tube in a stoma that is less than 24 hrs old
  • Delegate a controlled act
  • Perform an advanced procedure below the dermis
  • Supervise student RT’s in the performance of a controlled act

As a profession, it is imperative that we support a positive and strong transition into the workforce for these new graduates.  They are entering a system that is overworked and overwhelmed, and they transitioned from being a student to a front-line worker overnight.  We must provide a safe environment for our new colleagues, to feel supported and to be successful as they work towards the status of a General Member.  The future of our profession is dependent upon it.

Kelly Arndt

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