What Is The Role/Job Of A Respiratory Therapist?
In this article, I have shared an overview of the role/job of a respiratory therapist.
Respiratory Therapists (RTs), also referred to as Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCP), are trained to help physicians within the evaluation, diagnosis, and care of patients with cardiopulmonary obstacles, like patients with emphysema, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, cardiac failure, and chest trauma.
The focus is on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of patients undergoing diseases of the cardiopulmonary system. RTS works as members of cardiac arrest and trauma admission organizations or home care providers. They are committed to respiratory wellness and disease prevention. Patients of all ages are treated by RTs, from premature infants in respiratory distress to senior citizens with end-stage ventilator failure.
What Does A Respiratory Therapist Do?
A respiratory therapist treats patients who are having difficulty in breathing. Respiratory therapists work under the direction and supervision of doctors and treat a variety of patients, from premature infants to older people with lung diseases. They give patients oxygen, manage ventilators, and administer drugs to the lungs.
Field Of Practice
In a typical day, respiratory therapists may:
- Assist in diagnosing lung or breathing disorders.
- Evaluate patients and perform tests and studies.
- Plan proper therapy and treatment options with physicians.
- Manage equipment and devices required to support people that can’t breathe normally on their own.
- Administer medicine and aerosol therapy.
- Provide Oxygen therapy.
- Analyze Blood gases.
- Manage airway.
- Operate mechanical ventilators.
- Apply maneuvers designed to promote the elimination of secretions from the lungs.
- Educate patients and families about lung diseases and breathing disorders.
There are many different areas in which respiratory therapists can specialize. Some fields require additional certification or experience. Respiratory therapists can practice in:
- Neonatal or pediatric care
- Geriatric care
- Critical care
- Pulmonary diagnostics centers
- Intensive care
- General hospital floors
- Cardio-Pulmonary rehabilitation centers
- Sub-acute unit
- Pulmonary function lab
- Operation theatres
Respiratory therapists serve in hospitals, cardiopulmonary diagnostic labs, cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, in operation theaters during surgeries to intubate and extubate patients before and after surgeries and home health agencies; though, about 75% of respiratory therapists get employed by hospitals. They typically work 35-40 hour weeks. Depending on where they work, they may have to work at nights, weekends, and holidays, especially if they do direct patient care in hospitals or nursing homes. Shifts can be too long, and respiratory therapists typically consume most of their duty hours on their feet.
- Work well under pressure.
- Intelligence to accurate and rapid decision making.
- Eagerness to work irregular hours.
- Passion for learning more about their field and work.
- Enjoy teamwork.
- Excellent work ethic.
Becoming A Respiratory Therapist
Individuals enthusiastic about becoming a respiratory therapist should be detail-oriented and well organized. It’s necessary to have influential problem solving and interpersonal skills and the capability to work well under pressure. High school students can prepare themselves for the role by taking advantage of science and health courses.
Higher Education Requirements
Individuals can choose to get a two-year associate diploma degree or a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy after completing their 12 years of education; most of the employers do prefer a bachelor’s degree.
- Two-year education program: 2-years diploma in a clinical setup.
- Registered Respiratory Therapist: 4-years university programs.
- Must be licensed by the state.
After achieving a respiratory therapy degree program, A RT must take the certification exam to become a certified respiratory therapist or a registered respiratory therapist. Every state (except Alaska) requires that respiratory therapists also obtain a state license. Additional certification is available to work with convinced populations, such as pediatrics. A Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certifications are also highly valued.
To work worldwide: respiratory therapists are required to renew their credentials every five years, which includes resuming education or retesting.
Universities Offering Bachelors In Respiratory Therapy
Top 8 Universities in Pakistan
- Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Medical University, Islamabad
- Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi
- Shifa Tameer-e-Millat University, Islamabad
- The University of Lahore (Main Campus), Lahore
- Isra University, Islamabad
- Gulab Devi Educational Complex, Lahore
- Sindh Institute Of Urology and Transplantation, Karachi
- Gulab Devi Post Graduate Medical Institute, Lahore
Top 8 Universities In Abroad
- University of Hartford, United States
- South Dakota State University, United States
- University of Toledo, United States
- Northern Kentucky University, United States
- Marshall University, USA
- University of Michigan – Flint, USA
- University of New Brunswick, Canada
- Ferris State University, USA
Career Opportunities And Scope
Job opportunities for respiratory therapists are known to be very good. The Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the profession of respiratory therapists to grow much faster than average. Respiratory therapists are in demand to take care of the large aging population. Older people are more liable to undergo lung and heart conditions that may benefit from respiratory therapy.
With additional training and experience, some therapists may promote to staff therapists or administrative positions. Others may begin their respiratory care organizations or move into equipment marketing and sales.
A respiratory therapist can expect a median annual salary of $60,000.
According to salary.com, the median salary for Respiratory Therapists is within $61,575 and $73,670 per year.
By The Numbers
- $60k median annual salary.
- 2-4 years of higher education.
- 23% job increase projected from 2016-2026
What Interested Me In Becoming A Respiratory Therapist?
My interest in Respiratory Therapy came along by happenstance. After completing my 12 years of education, I thought of taking a break from my studies before enrolling myself in any university. So I took a break and started volunteering at a well-known hospital. There I came to know Respiratory Therapists, learned from them, and worked with them. I was so surprised to learn about the critical nature of their field, and from that point, I started focusing my post-secondary choices toward a degree in Respiratory Therapy.
What Inspires Me About Working As A Respiratory Therapist?
What inspires me to be a Respiratory Therapist are the upcoming challenges and successes of complicated patients. I honestly love being a part of such a brainy and excellent multidisciplinary team of nurses and physicians that come together to design a plan of care and goal of success for each patient.
What Advice Would I Give to Other Interested Students?
The best advice I can give them is to contact the Respiratory Therapy department and spend time with Respiratory Therapists on the job. Having a front line view of the day to day requirements will give them a better knowledge of the field.