What is the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) Illustration

What is the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)?

by | Updated: May 16, 2024

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) serves as a pivotal cornerstone in the field of respiratory care in the United States.

Established in 1947, the organization is committed to advancing the science, technology, ethics, and art of respiratory care through various avenues, including education, advocacy, research, and credentialing.

With a membership that spans respiratory therapists, physicians, and students, the AARC plays an integral role in shaping policy, setting standards, and fostering innovation to improve patient outcomes in respiratory healthcare.

What is the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC)?

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is a not-for-profit professional association dedicated to the field of respiratory care. Established in 1947, the AARC now has over 40,000 members worldwide, primarily composed of respiratory therapists and allied health practitioners.

These healthcare professionals are trained at both the 2- and 4-year college level to assist physicians in the care of patients with lung disorders and other conditions.

One of the main goals of the AARC is to encourage and promote professional excellence within the respiratory care community.

This is achieved through a variety of initiatives, including the development of Clinical Practice Guidelines which serve as a resource for practitioners in providing evidence-based and reference-based care.

The AARC also advances the science and practice of respiratory care by conducting research, sharing knowledge, and fostering collaboration between members.

In addition to its focus on professional development and clinical excellence, the AARC functions as an advocate for patients and their families, as well as the public and the respiratory care profession at large.

By providing resources, support, and education, the AARC seeks to raise awareness about respiratory care and its important role in healthcare.

Through a combination of education, advocacy, and the promotion of best practices, the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) serves as an essential resource for professionals working within the field of respiratory care, ensuring they provide the highest quality care for their patients.

Membership and Benefits

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is an organization dedicated to improving the quality of care and education for respiratory therapy professionals. Membership in this prestigious organization offers a variety of perks tailored to the needs of these professionals.

With the AARC membership, individuals can gain access to helpful resources and services that support their career growth and professional development.

One of the key benefits of AARC membership is access to exclusive members-only content. Providing valuable resources and educational information that can help individuals stay informed about the latest trends and practices in the field of respiratory care.

These resources can also enable members to achieve greater competency in their discipline and offer the best possible care to their patients.

Another great advantage for AARC members is the access to the AARC Times Magazine. This monthly publication covers essential information related to respiratory therapy, including best practices, research updates, and industry news.

The magazine is an excellent source for professionals looking to stay up-to-date on the latest advancements and techniques in the field, helping them stay at the forefront of their profession.

In addition to these resources, AARC membership includes other perks such as career services and education.

AARC offers continual education opportunities, allowing members to refine their skills and expand their knowledge in the area of respiratory care. Members can attend conferences, webinars, and participate in other events related to their area of expertise.

Furthermore, AARC facilitates connections and networking opportunities for members, letting them collaborate with industry peers and experts.

This not only aids in personal growth but also fosters a community that can work together to advance and strengthen the respiratory care profession.

Summary: Being a part of the American Association for Respiratory Care not only validates one’s commitment to the field but also provides practical benefits and resources that enhance members’ knowledge and skills. To stay ahead in the rapidly evolving world of respiratory care, AARC membership is a valuable investment that delivers substantial advantages to professionals.

Roles and Responsibilities of Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists play a vital role in the healthcare field, focusing primarily on the assessment, treatment, and management of patients with breathing disorders. These healthcare professionals are essential members of the healthcare team, working closely with physicians, nurses, and other medical specialists.

One of the main responsibilities of respiratory therapists is to evaluate and monitor patients’ respiratory status.

This often involves conducting diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function tests and arterial blood gas analysis, to determine the severity of a patient’s condition and assess the need for intervention.

Additionally, they may develop treatment plans for patients with chronic conditions, such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), to manage symptoms and improve overall quality of life.

Respiratory therapists also play a significant role in the administration of various breathing treatments and therapies.

For example, they may provide oxygen therapy, aerosolized medications, or bronchodilator therapy to help alleviate patients’ respiratory distress.

In more acute situations, respiratory therapists may be responsible for managing mechanical ventilation, adjusting ventilator settings, and monitoring patients in critical care settings, such as intensive care units (ICUs).

Educating patients and their families on managing respiratory conditions is another important aspect of the respiratory therapist’s role. This includes providing guidance on proper inhaler techniques, self-monitoring strategies, and lifestyle modifications to promote optimal lung health.

They also collaborate with other healthcare professionals and participate in patient care conferences to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to patient care.

In addition to direct patient care, respiratory therapists may also engage in research, education, and advocacy efforts to advance the field of respiratory care and promote the highest standards of patient care.

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is a leading professional organization supporting respiratory therapists in their pursuit of professional excellence and advancing the science and practice of respiratory care.

Note: By participating in such organizations, respiratory therapists can stay updated on the latest clinical developments, network with peers, and contribute to the growth and advancement of their profession.

Clinical Practice Guidelines

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the respiratory care profession. One of the key contributions of AARC is the development of evidence-based Clinical Practice Guidelines. These guidelines provide respiratory care practitioners with essential recommendations for various aspects of practice, such as oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation, and resuscitation.

AARC’s Clinical Practice Guidelines are created with meticulous research and analysis, utilizing the expertise of the respiratory care community.

This ensures that the guidelines provide practical, reliable, and thorough information for practitioners to enhance patient care.

In recent years, AARC has published guidelines on topics such as:

  • Capillary blood gas sampling for neonatal and pediatric patients
  • Artificial airway suctioning
  • Management of adult patients with oxygen in the acute care setting

These guidelines serve as valuable resources for healthcare professionals, supporting them to make informed decisions and implement best practices in respiratory care.

Oxygen therapy, a crucial component of respiratory care, is addressed in some of these guidelines.

The management of adult patients with oxygen in acute care settings focuses on the appropriate administration, monitoring, and adjustment of oxygen therapy to improve patient outcomes and ensure safety.

Pulmonary rehabilitation, another essential aspect of respiratory care, is also covered in the guidelines.

Comprehensive programs combining exercise training, education, and behavioral interventions are recommended to improve the quality of life and functional status of patients with chronic lung diseases.

Resuscitation practices are critical in life-threatening respiratory situations.

Note: The AARC’s guidelines emphasize the importance of adequate training, adherence to evidence-based protocols, and interprofessional collaboration to improve survival rates and reduce complications in cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Scientific and Medical Contributions

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is dedicated to promoting professional excellence and advancing the science and practice of respiratory care. A key component of their mission is supporting and disseminating scientific research related to respiratory care.

They do so through various channels, one of which is their official science journal, Respiratory Care.

Respiratory Care is a monthly journal that provides valuable scientific and medical information to professionals in the field. It is listed in Index Medicus, which is a comprehensive index of medical literature, and its contents are searchable via PubMed, Google Scholar, and other search engines.

This ensures that the journal’s research is widely accessible to those in the medical and scientific communities.

The AARC is committed to staying at the forefront of respiratory care technologies and practices. As such, they encourage their members to stay informed about the latest research and to contribute to the scientific knowledge base of the field.

By maintaining a strong focus on research, the AARC helps drive improvements in respiratory care and ultimately benefits patients who rely on these therapies.

The organization also acts as an advocate for patients, their families, the public, the profession, and respiratory therapists. This advocacy is rooted in their dedication to the science and research that shape the field.

Note: By emphasizing the importance of evidence-based practices and informing the public about the value of respiratory care, the AARC contributes to the overall improvement of patient care and outcomes. The scientific and medical contributions of the AARC are vital for maintaining and enhancing the standards of respiratory care practice.

AARC’s Role in Patient Care Management

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) plays a significant role in patient care management, particularly in the respiratory therapy field. As a professional organization, AARC strives to promote excellence in respiratory care, advance science and practice, and advocate for patients, their families, and the general public.

To achieve effective patient care management, AARC endorses evidence-based clinical practice guidelines designed for respiratory therapists.

These guidelines offer essential protocols for various situations, including capillary blood gas sampling, artificial airway suctioning, and management of adult patients with oxygen in acute care settings.

By following these guidelines, respiratory care practitioners can ensure a consistent and high-quality standard of care for the patients they serve.

Another vital aspect of AARC’s role in patient care management is providing ongoing education opportunities for its members. Through its AARC Congress and other meetings, courses, and symposia throughout the year, AARC offers members a chance to earn Continuing Respiratory Care Education (CRCE) credits.

By staying up to date with the latest advancements and best practices in the field, respiratory therapists can optimize patient care management and monitoring.

Collaboration and communication are also crucial in the realm of patient care management.

AARC fosters a sense of community and connection among respiratory care professionals through tools like AARConnect, a discussion list that facilitates communication with peers across the country.

This platform provides a space for professionals to share experiences, discuss concerns, and seek guidance from fellow practitioners in managing and monitoring patients.

Summary: The American Association for Respiratory Care plays a significant role in patient care management by promoting evidence-based guidelines, offering continuous education opportunities, and fostering collaboration among respiratory care professionals. By doing so, AARC showcases a commitment to improving the standard of care for patients requiring respiratory therapy.

Mission and Vision

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is a professional organization focused on promoting and advancing the respiratory care profession worldwide. Its mission statement highlights the commitment to serve its members and engage, elevate, advocate, and educate the respiratory care profession.

This dedication to promoting the profession is aimed at providing better health outcomes for patients reliant on respiratory care.

AARC envisions itself as the leading organization in the respiratory care field. This vision is supported by the association’s strategic approach to tackling the challenges faced by respiratory therapists and the work they do.

A key element of this strategy involves interacting with local, state, and federal governments to shape public policies that affect both patients and AARC members.

In addition to policy advocacy, the AARC also provides educational resources and opportunities for its members, promoting ongoing professional development.

Through events, webinars, conferences, and various publications, respiratory therapists can stay up to date with the latest advancements, research, and best practices in their field.

The AARC also fosters a sense of unity and recognition within the respiratory care profession. With initiatives such as the National Respiratory Care Week, respiratory therapists are celebrated and acknowledged for their vital work in healthcare.

Advocacy Efforts

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is dedicated to advocating on behalf of respiratory therapists, patients, and the public, ensuring that their interests are represented and addressed. AARC’s advocacy efforts focus on promoting professional excellence, advancing the science and practice of respiratory care, and protecting the well-being of patients with lung disorders and other conditions.

A key component of the AARC’s advocacy is their engagement with Congress, the Administration, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

Throughout the Public Health Emergency (PHE), the AARC actively fought for the recognition of respiratory therapists as experts in respiratory care, allowing them to provide essential telehealth services.

By sending letters and establishing communications, the AARC was able to influence decision-makers on a federal level.

In addition to federal advocacy, the AARC collaborates with state societies to ensure that the concerns of respiratory therapists are addressed at the state level.

State society advocacy resources and the AARC Volunteer-led Grassroots Advocacy Committee play a vital role in empowering members to participate in legislative activities affecting their profession.

The AARC has also developed various tools and resources to make it easier for its members to engage in advocacy. The AARC Capitol Connection provides timely updates on key legislative issues, while the AARC Advocacy/TAKE ACTION platform allows members to directly contact their elected officials regarding pressing matters.

Furthermore, the Social Media Advocacy Toolkit equips members with the necessary skills to maximize their online presence and voice their concerns.

Note: Through their continuous efforts, the AARC remains a confident, knowledgeable, and neutral advocate for respiratory therapists, patients, and the public, addressing their needs in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Final Thoughts

The American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) stands as a beacon of professional excellence and clinical advancement in the realm of respiratory care.

By providing resources for continuing education, spearheading advocacy efforts at the legislative level, and promoting research to refine patient care methods, the AARC sustains a dynamic environment for respiratory care professionals.

As the field continues to evolve, the organization’s role in shaping best practices and policies remains as critical as ever, making it indispensable to the healthcare community.

John Landry, BS, RRT

Written by:

John Landry, BS, RRT

John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.