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Pulmonary function technologist finds ways to teach

January  26, 2015

Bonnie SteadmanFrom administering pulmonary function tests to calibrating devices to providing individualized smoking cessation counselling, there is never a dull moment during Bonnie Steadman’s day. 

As the charge pulmonary function technologist (PFT) at Women’s College Hospital (WCH), Steadman completes respiratory testing while overseeing quality assurance aspects of the hospital’s pulmonary function lab. A key part of her role involves fostering an enriching learning environment, so that patient care remains top notch.

“My goal is to position all our care providers as lifelong learners,” said Steadman. “Wherever possible, we try to find opportunities where we can learn from each other.”

In fact, she frequently completes random “quality checks” with the respiratory therapists and technologists in the lab (another technologist also randomly checks Steadman’s work). This ensures that everyone on the team receives regular professional feedback. Additionally, with WCH’s respiratory therapists, she facilitates training sessions focused on the pulmonary function lab for all incoming medical clerks and residents.

On a broader scale, Steadman also looks at ways of running the lab efficiently and reducing patient wait times. In this capacity, she works closely with administrative staff, managers, respiratory therapists, respirologists and the patient flow coordinator.

“I like that my role involves a mix of patient interaction as well as sharing knowledge with colleagues,” she said. “Also, I’m working with a great team.”

Originally trained as a kinesiologist – Steadman is a registered kinesiologist (R.Kin) – she eventually began working as a technologist in a pulmonary function laboratory.  After hours of practical work experience in pulmonary function testing and successfully completing the registry examination, Steadman became a registered member of the Canadian Association of Cardio-pulmonary Technologists in the field of pulmonary technology.

Throughout her career, she has been drawn to areas related to health, fitness, wellness, teaching and prevention.  When the position for a charge PFT became available at WCH, it seemed like a perfect fit.

“I’ve always supported the idea of managing health concerns early and keeping patients out of the hospital,” explained Steadman. “At Women’s College Hospital, it’s so rewarding to teach the public through outreach programs and events like World COPD day in November.”

Ultimately, Steadman stresses the importance of early detection and action for managing respiratory health.

“Measuring pulmonary function is an essential piece of a puzzle in making an accurate diagnosis and can go a long way in managing respiratory health,” explained Steadman. “Our lab provides excellent respiratory care and we have the full complement of professional and friendly staff here. Everyone on our team sincerely cares about helping patients manage lung health.”

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