PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE: Increasing the RTSO’s Membership

Sue Jones
RRT FCSRT LSSBB
RTSO President

One of the RTSO’s most important priorities currently is to increase our membership to ensure that RTSO has enough funding to continue its important work.  The CSRT’s support has been one of the drivers that has helped us push towards our goal of increasing membership to allow for financial sustainability.  We enjoy a high level of collaboration with our national association and would like to extend a great big thanks to all the board and staff at the CSRT.

This spring, the CSRT provided us with a table in a great location at the CSRT Education Conference in Niagara Falls so that the RTSO could engage and attract new members as part of our membership drive; however, the resulting membership increase was minimal.  Interestingly, I had many conversations with people from all over Ontario and the question I was asked most frequently was, “What value do I get for my money by becoming a member?” My answer consisted of the following points:

  • We represent you at the provincial tables such as the Allied Health Professionals Fund. Note: This year, the MOH intended to cancel the fund, but we persuaded them against it. As the result, you can still access these funds for educational purposes.
  • We are working with the MOH and ICES on RT resourcing map across the province, advocating for increased RT funding in underserviced areas and increasing employment opportunities for RTs.
  • We provide liability insurance for professional protection for those who wish to purchase it.
  • We represent you at the Lung Association, advocating for RTs.
  • We distribute information from Health Quality Ontario so RTs can participate in provincial committees that develop standards on lung health, and so you can provide input on the standards.
  • We organize ongoing committees that focus on Students, Leaders and the Community RTs where you can volunteer, have a voice and provide input on RTSO activities.
  • Our committees worked together to create a standard job description for RTs that will be provided to government and Ontario Health Teams as they start to develop (this is a great example of how RTSO can advocate for an increase in your scope of practice)
  • We are participating in a research project to ascertain how many RTs are affected by PTSD. RTSO will use the findings to advocate that the MOH include RTs as part of the first responders and provide you with access to services for PTSD treatment and therapy.
  • We will be providing two educational events in the fall where you can earn continuing education credits, one aimed at Leaders across the province and one for the frontline clinicians.
  • We publish this great paper three times per year to highlight all of the RTSO’s and volunteers’ accomplishments and keep you up to date on relevant developments for your professional life.
  • At this time of healthcare system transformation in Ontario, the RTSO is a strong voice advocating for the role of RTs in the development of Ontario Health Teams.

RTSO provides all this value using the membership funds from just 350-members, which enables us to engage an executive director two days per week.  Imagine what we could do if we doubled our membership!  If each RTSO member convinced one person to join our association, our membership would be doubled, and we could accomplish so much more and provide even better value for your money.  If you do not think these benefits warrant becoming a member, please let me know what else we could do that would be of value to you.

In October, we will be hosting our annual Leadership Summit, the flagship event for this association.  With a membership of 350 people, the conference is not financially feasible.  Without a very successful Leadership Summit and Inspire conference, the RTSO will be in the difficult position of potentially transitioning to a very different model, or not existing at all.

If there was ever a time you felt like this profession means a lot to you, now is the time to become a member or convince an RT friend to become a member.  Those of you who know me personally are likely wondering why Sue Jones cares so much and tries so hard to keep this association going.  Just like those before me and who continue to volunteer, we do care because I absolutely LOVE being an RT.  I don’t have to work as an RT anymore as I have a full-time job as a Quality Improvement Specialist do not need to keep up my license, but I really enjoy the work!

So, if you find yourself still loving what you do, there is a reason and it is because RTs have stood together for so long through the RTSO and continually improved the RT role, thanks to the sacrifices of the many volunteers over the years.  If you cannot give back your time, please give your support financially to our professional association so that we may continue our worthwhile work.

I do hope my message later this year is one of success!