Christopher Gagnon, professional practice leader, Respiratory Therapy

Oct 17, 2016 | Meet and Greet

It's Respiratory Therapy Week and to celebrate, we wanted to introduce you to Christopher Gagnon, Professional Practice Leader for Respiratory Therapy. 

Respiratory Therapy (RT) was not Chris’ first career – he worked firstly as an Emergency Medical Technician – Ambulance when, on a whim, applied to RT school. 

He was accepted into the program at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology and graduated at the top of his class in 1995 with a Diploma in Respiratory Therapy.  He then worked at University of Alberta Hospitals for nine years followed by three years at Vancouver General Hospital before coming to PHC in 2007.

As Professional Practice Leader (PPL) for RT, Chris is very proud of his team and feels privileged to lead them.

He says, “What I enjoy most is seeing the achievements and accomplishments of the staff.  Every year we have a staff appreciation event where we celebrate the accomplishments of the last year – and there’s always a lot to celebrate!” 

At PHC, RTs specialize in one of 2 distinct areas: Acute or Diagnostics.  

Acute RTs work in all the critical care areas as well as the general wards 24/7. They assist with the stabilization of patients experiencing cardiorespiratory distress, and are responsible for the ventilators providing life support. Diagnostics RTs are based in the Pulmonary Function Labs and use a variety of breathing tests to aid in disease diagnosis and management. They also do a lot of patient education and are involved with chronic disease management, working closely with the Respirologists and the Pacific Lung Health Centre clinics.

RTs have published articles, volunteered abroad, won numerous awards, presented posters, and also presented at many education conferences. The team also embraces the PHC Mission by fundraising for various causes, leading Christmas hamper and backpack drives, and volunteering at Providence in the Park. 

Key projects that Chis himself has accomplished include:

  • Developing advanced competency programs for arterial line insertion and endotracheal intubation.
  • Initiating a QI/QA project to decrease the incidence of unplanned extubation in ICU, resulting in a decrease of 60% over two years.
  • Led an operational review of the bronchoscopy suite and implemented changes leading to a renewed focus on quality improvement and patient safety.

In his spare time, Chris likes to take it easy with his two girls - a fat cat named Lily and a Havanese puppy named Saphira. He enjoys the outdoors and gardening, making jams and pickles, and also loves to bake breads and all kinds of other goodies – most of which usually goes towards fattening up the RT Team.

Respiratory therapy week is coming up on October 24 – 28. Come by on your lunch hour to check out the displays outside the cafeteria entrance and talk to a respiratory therapist. There are draws to be entered, prizes to be won, games to be played, and skills to be tested.  Take a look at some of the equipment used by respiratory therapists, and compare one of the first ventilators with one of the most modern – a big difference over 50 years. 

Thanks to Frances Johnson and the Care Connection team for sharing Chris' profile with PHC News.

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