The Nevada Sputum Bowl is an event that the vast majority of people outside the respiratory care professional have likely never heard of. But for those within the industry, it is the consummate gathering of medical professionals in respiratory therapy, pulmonology, and clinical management. The Sputum Bowl, organized and hosted by the American Association for Respiratory Care, is a yearly event that brings together respiratory therapists and the like from across the country to meet at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The purpose of the event is to allow respiratory care professionals to see firsthand all of the industry’s latest technological advancements, to listen to guest lecturers speak about the different programs in the various treatment areas, and to review the latest research from around the world.
The presentations included topics such as patient safety and clinical practice but also included topics that were much more advanced in nature such as extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. EMO is a technique used by respiratory therapists and other lung and breathing specialists to combat heart and lung failure. For respiratory therapy students like Nahom Asfaha and Steven Blanco, the Sputum Bowl presents the ideal opportunity to rub elbows with veterans of the profession and to reinforce the lessons that they have been learning in their coursework and clinicals regarding medications and treatment techniques for specific ailments like asthma and acute lung injury as it pertains to pediatric care.
One of the lighter events at the Bowl is the respiratory care trivia game that allows both students and RC professionals to test and improve their knowledge about respiratory care in a fun and lighthearted way. Questions like “What are two complications associated with hyperoxemia of a newborn?” were posed to participants who were able to win prizes for providing correct answers. Blanco stated that he was able to make “lots of connections at the clinical sites” and that the managers at those sites “told me to come and look them up after I graduate.”