Staying alive needs breathing. Breathing needs assistance to live properly and healthily. A respiratory therapist has a role to play in breathing. Let’s look into “what does a respiratory therapist do?” to ensure the safe breathing of all the people trying to live.
When you break a bone, you consult a physiotherapist for your broken bones and the further treatment it requires in the future. In the case of physical health, you consult a physiotherapist. Who should be consulted when it’s about breathing or lung problems?
That’s when a respiratory therapist comes to your rescue. A respiratory therapist treats patients with breathing problems and lung diseases.
Check out all the 5 questions to understand and maybe pursue a career in this sector to provide aid to the needy. Look further for insight into questions like ‘what is a respiratory therapist?‘, ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘, and more about it.
1. What is a Respiratory Therapist?
Respiratory therapists are the link between Registered Nurse(RN) and doctors. If you or someone nearby suddenly goes into a critical condition, the first responder would be a respiratory therapist. The position of respiratory therapists in the medical field is highly respected.
Treating patients that need the most care. Most respiratory therapists work within hospital bounds. However, you get to indulge with various healthcare workers, medical professionals, and medical facilities that certify patient care and treatment regarding respiratory issues.
You can see that a respiratory therapist helps the patient with trouble breathing. They assess and evaluate patients for respiratory distress or infectious diseases with the help of other healthcare workers and healthcare professionals.
Respiratory therapists assist patients with sleep apnea or who require in-home care facilities. They teach patients, families, or individuals to use life support systems or deliver oxygen. It’s their daily job to perform tests to assist and record lung diseases and assess lung capacity.
Patient treatment generally involves lung function tests and a blood gas analyzer to measure blood oxygen and carbon dioxide levels. They provide emergency home visits and especially visit patients’ homes to check for environmental hazards.
This sums up ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘ while providing emotional support and connecting with patients personally.
2. What does a Respiratory Therapist Do? – The Duties
As a respiratory therapist, you must execute numerous critical tasks to assist patients with breathing problems. Providing breathing support to premature infants, aiding the elderly in chest trauma, and securing & sustaining patient’s life. The respiratory therapist’s job description covers many aspects, from chronic respiratory disease to sleep apnea. Probe all the duties to know ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘.
All-inclusive respiratory therapist’s duties are as follows:
- Administer medications to the lungs.
- Administer oxygen.
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
- Mechanical ventilators management.
- Monitoring Cardiopulmonary disorders.
- Measuring lung functioning.
- Manage support needed for patients to breathe by equipment.
- Educate patients and families about lung diseases.
2.1. Day-to-Day Shift Involves
A normal day in the life of a respiratory technician includes a wide range of activities in a working day. A typical shift involves:
- Patient examination and interview.
- Determine therapy and treatment with physicians.
- Performing tests and evaluating patients.
- Treating with chest physiotherapy, aerosol medications, and various treatments.
- Analyze sputum and blood samples.
- Monitoring the patient’s progress and recording it.
- Help patients breathe with ventilators.
- Teach patients to use equipment and take medication.
Knowing all the daily activities helps us understand how critical this job is and the answer ‘what does a respiratory therapist do’ for their patients.
You can specialize in respiratory therapy in different sectors requiring additional certification and experience.
- Neonatal intensive care units or pediatrics.
- Geriatrics care units.
- Critical care units
- Pulmonary diagnostic tests
- Home care
- Pulmonary rehab
All sectors function with the help and services of a respiratory therapist. The above pointers help you understand ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘ and what each duty implies.
3. How do You Become a Respiratory Therapist?
Look at the detailed instructions for becoming a self-proclaimed respiratory therapist after knowing ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘.
If you are interested in the career prospect of a respiratory therapist, you should possess qualities like focus, detail orientation, and organization. It is essential to have problem-solving qualities along with interpersonal skills. It would be best if you were well adapted to grasp the drastic changes in a scenario and have the ability to work under pressure.
As a high school student, you can take advantage of the science, math, and health stream and prepare yourself for this role. Check out the below-stated requirements, which can lead you towards becoming a respiratory therapist.
3.1. Requirements for Higher Education
You can choose to acquire a bachelor’s degree in respiratory therapy or a two-year associate’s degree from an accredited institution. In some places, a bachelor’s degree is required by employers. It is beneficial to gain documented volunteer work or experience in the field that deals with respiratory care provided by some hospitals or vent centers in high school.
Certain programs specify the need to adhere to volunteer work documentation or work experience to understand what you are dealing with. It’s also to justify whether you are an amateur in this field.
Many accredited schools provide RT programs that include clinical components and basic education. Therefore, you are not only completing your course credit but also getting supervised training in patient treatment and going through practical experiments.
3.2. Certification Requirements
Once you have completed a respiratory therapy degree program, you can proceed for the certification exam to become a full-fledged Certified Respiratory Therapist Technician(CRTT) or a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). It’s a requirement for each respiratory therapist to obtain a state license in every state (Alaska is exceptional).
The National Board of Respiratory Care, Inc. administers these credentials. The vision of respiratory therapists does not require you to spend 4+ years in medical school. You will be on your way to a respiratory therapist position in just 2 years. You may need additional certification to work in certain areas like pediatrics. It’s highly recommended that you obtain Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Basic Life Support certifications.
If you choose to be a respiratory therapist, you need to renew your credentials every five years, which might include retesting or continuing education.
You can choose to help the people around you with this career with the first step of understanding, ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘
3.3. Career Opportunities
The occupational outlook handbook states that respiratory therapy is a rewarding career path with interesting opportunities to explore and excel. You can expect good prospects for job opportunities once you become a respiratory therapist. The employment rate in this profession is expected to grow faster than average, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated.
The demand for respiratory therapists is at large for the large adding population. Respiratory therapy can benefit the older population as they are likely to contract lung and heart conditions.
You can advance to the staff therapist or administrative sector position with additional training and experience. You can also opt for opening your own respiratory care company or equipment marketing and sales, as most of them prefer.
The median annual salary for respiratory therapists work is $62K. You might be expected to work for roughly 35-40 hours weekly. Further, like in every other medical profession, a respiratory therapist must work nights, weekends, or even holidays. Your shifts may be elongated, and you would have to be on your toes most of your shift. Especially if you directly treat patients in hospitals or nursing homes.
These points explain how a respiratory therapist’s career choice works, making it a bit easier to understand ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘.
4. Where do Respiratory Therapists Work?
Respiratory therapists work everywhere, from clinics to hospitals, nursing homes, and healthcare centers. Respiratory therapists usually work in hospitals.
Home health agencies, cardiopulmonary diagnostic labs, and cardiopulmonary rehabilitation centers are the places where they generally work. Diagnosing breathing problems and specific therapy are required in many healthcare systems. Respiratory therapists aid with those services whenever you need them.
Breathing issues are caused by several factors which amount to the need for respiratory therapists at any moment. So, it’s a responsible job requiring you to be available 24×7, if necessary.
Respiratory therapists’ work helps a lot of people. Knowing where and how they are available makes it simpler to understand ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘.
5. Why are Respiratory Therapists Essential?
Respiratory therapists have an essential role to play in the healthcare team. Respiratory therapists will assist you through proper guidance by the medical direction of a doctor. The responsibility list of a respiratory therapist’s work describes how important a role it is to look for and provide assistance in the healthcare facility.
They treat all kinds of patients, from premature infants to suffering elderlies. If you are suffering from chronic illness, they provide temporary relief. Additionally, they assist you in cases of heart attacks, drowning, stroke, shock, or respiratory distress from severe illnesses like COVID-19.
The responsibility, work, and duties of a respiratory therapist become interesting in both aspects, personally and professionally, because of the helping nature of their work. They help you or anyone who needs help. This career choice offers a perfect blend of hospitality and technology.
If you are compassionate, driven, and dedicated, the respiratory therapist might be a perfect career for you. And this article gets you started with the basics of becoming a respiratory therapist. Hope this clears your views on ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?’ and how essential this role is.
6. What does a Respiratory Therapist Do? – Conclusion
It’s necessary to know how certain things work so that your contribution towards it has some worth. Doing things without knowing usually turns out to be meaningless.
After having detailed information on ‘what does a respiratory therapist do?‘, ‘what it means to be a respiratory therapist?‘, ‘how to provide respiratory care?‘ and ‘what should be done if someone in your vicinity needs it?‘, you’re all set to apply this further. In-depth knowledge might even push you to pursue a career as a respiratory therapist and take care of your close ones and others as much as you want. Check out the official website for further details on career opportunities.