Respiratory Therapist in an intensive care unit Intensive care and operating room Respiratory therapists educate, diagnose, and treat people who are suffering from heart and lung problems.
What is a Respiratory Therapist? Find A Program Respiratory therapy is best described as the assessment and treatment of patients with both acute and chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system.
Respiratory therapists must have a broad knowledge of the pathophysiology of the cardiopulmonary system and the complex procedures required to properly diagnose and treat patients, from the very young to the very old.
Where do Respiratory Therapists Work? Respiratory therapy may include treating diseases, infections, or viruses of the cardiopulmonary system, such as lung cancer, asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
RTs may also provide life-saving care to trauma patients. Respiratory therapists may be found in acute-care hospital settings, including the emergency room, the intensive care unit, the newborn or pediatric intensive care unit, or the pulmonary diagnostics laboratory.
They work with patients of all ages, from premature infants with underdeveloped lungs, to senior citizens with advanced chronic obstructive pulmonary disease COPD. Outside of the hospital setting, respiratory therapists may work in pulmonary rehabilitation clinics, performing pulmonary rehabilitation.
They may also counsel patients on topics such as smoking cessation and disease prevention, and they may work in home care settings, teaching patients and their families to use assistive breathing devices.
They may also work out of physician offices, long-term acute and skilled nursing facilities, and sleep disorder centers, to name just a few. The Duties Respiratory Therapists Perform In addition to treatment, respiratory therapists are required to diagnose lung disease and breathing disorders, and then recommend the most appropriate treatment methods.
As such, their work often includes examining patients, performing chest exams, and analyzing tissue specimens. Along with having an extensive knowledge of the cardiopulmonary system, respiratory therapists must be experts in the machines and devices used to administer respiratory care treatments.
This would involve managing patients on ventilators and artificial airway devices, and assessing the blood-oxygen level of patients. Just a few of the responsibilities of respiratory therapists include: Managing life support mechanical ventilation systems Administering aerosol-based medications Monitoring equipment related to cardiopulmonary therapy Analyzing blood samples to determine levels of oxygen and other gases Managing artificial airways Assessing lung capacity to determine impairment Analyzing chest x-rays and sputum specimens Assessing vital signs Performing tests and studies related to the cardiopulmonary system e.
Performing studies related to the cardiopulmonary system Conducting rehabilitation activities Counseling individuals in cardiopulmonary health e. Consulting with physicians and members of the medical team to recommend a change in therapy Respiratory therapy is always practiced under medical direction.
As such, respiratory therapists are always part of a medical team. Their work includes participating in: The development and implementation of treatment plans and protocols Health promotion activities and programs Disease prevention Clinical decision-making Patient education Their work involves critical thinking skills, assessment skills, and advanced knowledge in evidence-based clinical practice guidelines, all of which enable them to develop and implement effective care, treatment, and disease management plans.
To work as a respiratory therapist, you must hold state licensure. To date, every state in the U. This usually involves the completion of specific continuing education requirements.
Characteristics of Successful Respiratory Therapists In addition to being state licensed to practice respiratory therapy, successful respiratory therapists are those who possess the following: Compassionate respiratory therapists are able to provide emotional support to patients who are undergoing treatments for serious and often life-threatening diseases.
Respiratory therapists must be able quickly solve problems, particularly in trauma or emergency situations.
Therefore, the ability to think critically to provide the medical team with rapid and accurate assessments, assess patents, and provide patients with the appropriate treatment is crucial.
Because respiratory therapists spend much of their time communicating with members of the medical team, with patients, or with patient families, the ability to communicate well is important. Respiratory therapists must maintain, use, and manage many types of equipment and administer many types of medications; therefore, successful respiratory therapists are detail-oriented, organized, meticulous, and thorough, ensuring that patients receive the appropriate treatments at all times.American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC) is an association for respiratory care and allied health professionals interested in cardiopulmonary care.
Respiratory therapists care for patients who have trouble breathing—for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. Their patients range from premature infants with undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs. They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from heart attacks, drowning, .
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The Office of Professions considers this information to be a secure, primary source for license verification. Become a Respiratory Therapist.
You have been thinking a lot lately about what you are going to do with the rest of your life. And as you considered various careers, health care has sounded like a good choice. Respiratory Therapy Program Not being able to breathe properly is a frightening situation.
And it is a respiratory therapist who can act quickly to offer emergency and immediate relief to patients suffering from a blocked passageway, intense asthma attack or other life-threatening experience. Nov 13, · A Respiratory Therapist with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of .