Looking Back at 2023

NBRC CEO Lori Tinkler MBA, ICE-CCP and NBRC President Amy Boeckmann, MPA, BS, RRT, FAARC

Looking back at 2023, we both can’t help but feel proud. From RT graduates just stepping past the threshold into their new careers, to seasoned RTs, we are proud of the difference RTs make each year that aligns with the NBRC’s goal for excellence in respiratory care. Let’s look at some of the things the NBRC and the profession of respiratory care achieved together last year.

Brave and eager, thousands joined the ranks of respiratory therapists in 2023, awarding over 13,000 new credentials across the United States. Growing the number of RTs available addresses the critical shortages experienced nationwide. But the search for more RTs isn’t over; a survey of respiratory care leaders, conducted by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), shows that almost nine in 10 (87 percent) agree or strongly agree there is a current, local shortage of RTs, and 84 percent think a shortage of RTs in the future is likely or very likely.

In cooperation with the AARC and CoARC, we at the NBRC are dedicated to eliminating the nationwide shortage of respiratory therapists through our joint multiyear campaign, The World Needs More RTs. In 2024, we promise to keep spreading awareness about respiratory therapists, the vital role they play in saving lives, and how specialty credentials can open new and high-paying opportunities for thousands of RTs. We want as many people as possible to hear about the benefits of a career in respiratory therapy; to learn more, please visit MoreRTs.com.

In 2023, the NBRC continued an extensive outreach initiative, establishing connections both virtually and in person with practitioners, educators, students, and physicians. One of the highlights of last year was the opportunity for us to connect with several states at various meetings across the country; traveling to state society meetings allowed us to engage with RTs and gain valuable insight into the unique challenges faced by respiratory care professionals in different regions. These interactions have been instrumental in shaping our strategies to better serve RT needs and advance the field. Our comprehensive itinerary featured prominent events, including the AARC Congress, where the NBRC unveiled an upgraded and interactive booth. The NBRC also attended other key events such as the American Thoracic Society’s (ATS) International Conference in Washington DC, the AARC’s Summer Forum located in sunny Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and the CHEST Annual Meeting, where NBRC President Boeckmann presented on an esteemed panel at the seventh annual Women in Chest Medicine Luncheon. We both hope that putting boots on the ground to connect and engage with those who save lives every day can better help shape the future of the profession.

The NBRC has added several new quality-of-life improvements that help streamline the connection we share with respiratory therapists. RTs now have the option to select a climate-conscious, paperless mailing preference within our Practitioner Portal. Also, our new online quick-pay feature has made it easier than ever for RTs to effortlessly make their yearly payments without distracting them from their life-saving roles.

In an age dominated by digital communication, our commitment to social media outreach was a key focus in 2023. Thanks to our Social Media Ambassador Program, we have never been more connected with our RT community. The content we have sourced from our outstanding RT community has left a resounding impression on our goal to expand critical roles in respiratory care. Through the strategic use of content generated by our Social Media Ambassadors, we have been able to share relevant updates, educational resources, and celebrate the achievements of RTs. We give thanks to those who shared impactful stories of courage and resilience in respiratory care. If you’d like to see stories from both practitioners and patients, go to MoreRTs.com.

Additionally, the NBRC continues to foster growth in the respiratory care field and facilitate progress in expanding its scope. Last year, the NBRC conducted an NPS Job Analysis Study to ascertain the various roles neonatal/pediatric specialists hold, and to revise the Neonatal/Pediatric Specialty Examination to better reflect current expectations. Also, we facilitated a cut-score study for the Sleep Disorders Specialty Examination to ensure the cut score accurately reflects the amount of content knowledge needed to show minimum competency. We are also looking towards the future, the NBRC continues to make progress in our goal to replace the Therapist Multiple Choice Examination and the Clinical Simulation Examination with the all-encompassing Respiratory Therapist Examination in 2027. The Advanced Practice Respiratory Therapy (APRT) Outcome Assessment Committee, which began its study last summer, is expected to deliver results this year, bringing all of us closer to a brand-new specialty credential designed to tackle the evolving needs of respiratory care patients.

2023 turned out to be a great year for respiratory therapy. Let’s keep growing, advancing, and leading the respiratory therapy profession in 2024. The NBRC will continue to support and lead initiatives to improve patient care, advance the profession, promote the value of respiratory therapy, recruit and retain respiratory therapists and ultimately, promote excellence. We both wish all RTs a healthy and successful new year!