I am the I in IWK: Erica Hancock (she/her), respiratory therapist

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Erica Hancock is a respiratory therapist in the IWK’s Respirology Clinic. At the IWK, respiratory therapists (RTs) are often found working in inpatient areas or the Emergency Department, for example. But Hancock’s role in the clinic is unique.

As part of her role, Hancock provides care and support to complex respiratory patients and families. On any given day, this can involve clinic appointments, coordinating BIPAP therapy (non-invasive ventilation) with a community vendor, working with families to navigate funding agencies/insurance, interpreting data from a patient’s ventilator, brainstorming with colleagues the best approach for medically fragile and complex children and so much more.

“My role is truly multifaceted, and I very much enjoy it,” says Hancock. “The multidisciplinary approach to care is remarkable; various care teams and departments, allied health professionals, physicians and staff all work together to ensure the same goal is met, that patients and families are provided the utmost care and support!”

That multifaceted work is one of Hancock’s greatest joys at work. She has always enjoyed work that makes you think in your feet and knew a career as an RT would bring that challenge daily.

“I love being an RT at the IWK! I find the most joy in helping patients and families in different ways whether it’s navigating a new piece of equipment, interacting with kids during clinic visit or helping families coordinate with a homecare vendor, it all brings me satisfaction,” says Hancock. “I feel valued and respected in my role and knowing that opinion matters is truly comforting.”

In addition to the expertise and excellent care provided by all of the IWK’s RTs, Hancock notes that the care and capacity of her patients’ families are a big part of the overall care team too.

“Watching our medically-complex children and families navigate daily lives and activities is truly remarkable,” Hancock says. “Some of them are running 24/7 intensive care units in their home and they don’t blink twice. They are the real superheroes and I am forever grateful and honoured to be a part of their care team.”

October 23–29, 2022 is Respiratory Therapy Week in Canada.