Respiratory Therapist - Job Description, Duties, Education, Skills, Salary, & Growth

Respiratory Therapist

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Job Description

 

Respiratory therapists work with patients suffering from chronic respiratory diseases, such as emphysema, bronchitis, COPD and asthma.

They also provide emergency care to people suffering heart attacks, drowning or shock. Those recovering from heart attacks or who suffer from sleep disorders, as well as premature infants may benefit from the services of a respiratory therapist to help them breathe more easily.

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Responsibilities

 

A respiratory therapist must rely on the knowledge of scientific principles of cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, in conjunction with biomedical engineering and technology, to effectively evaluate, educate, and treat patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.

Respiratory therapists practice under medical direction and as an integral part of the medical team.

Those with advanced level training take part in clinical decision-making and patient education. They devise and implement treatment plans and protocols, participate in health and wellness education programs, devise, and implement disease-prevention programs and work with patients to manage disease processes.

Adequate assessment skills and clinical practice guidelines based on evidence-based research enable respiratory therapists to devise and implement comprehensive care plans, therapy delivery protocols, and effective disease management programs.

Common responsibilities that fall to the Respiratory Therapist may include:

  • Diagnosing breathing and lung disorders, then recommending appropriate treatment methods

  • Interviewing patients and performing physical examinations of the chest to recommend the best therapy for the patient’s condition

  • Consulting with physicians to adjust or change a patient’s therapy based on the patient evaluation

  • Analyzing samples of tissue, breath and blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen and other gases

  • Ventilator and artificial airway device management for patients who need mechanical assistance to breathe

  • Responding to emergency, “Code Blue” or urgent calls for care

  • Education of patients and their families about lung diseases and how to maximize recovery

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Skills

 

While respiratory therapists practice under the supervision of physician, they can exercise a large degree of independent judgment when providing respiratory therapy to their patients, so they must call on a litany of skills.

Respiratory therapists are required to utilize critical thinking skills, among others, to evaluate their patients and the environment in which their patients live.

Since their environment and field is constantly changing, respiratory therapists must be able to adapt and change with the technology and times.

They must call on their patience and empathy to deal with frustrated, sick patients who may be challenging to work with and might take a while to see results.

They must also be able to work independently and be good at calling the shots, organization, planning, management, and scheduling, because they can work alone at the patients' houses.

Similarly, they must be good at working on a team because many practice on teams in hospital environments.

A respiratory therapist must also have an impeccable attention to detail to enable them to assess patients needs, administer correct treatment, and be in-tune with their ever changing environments. 

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Working Conditions

 

A respiratory therapist with an experienced resume may find their career options opening to wider opportunities, especially if they are employed by a hospital.

Exceptional respiratory therapists can move up the ladder from staff therapist to a shift supervisor, or higher to respiratory therapy department manager.

Some respiratory therapists even move into the ranks of hospital administration and other high levels of management.

Respiratory therapists are an active part of home health care industry, and many have moved on to open their own respiratory home healthcare companies.

These businesses provide respiratory diagnostic services, including education on patient care, instruction on in-home use of respiratory equipment and other services related to the field. Many work in close conjunction with home health nursing care services.

In the corporate world, respiratory therapists are finding employment in the fields of equipment manufacture and marketing specialists.

These companies are seeking employees with the technical knowledge and patient care experience that respiratory therapists bring to the table.

The most common venues where respiratory therapy services are offered include:

  • Acute care hospitals, where the majority of respiratory therapists are employed

  • Diagnostic laboratories

  • Rehabilitation centers, long-term acute care facilities and skilled nursing centers

  • Sleep disorder and study centers

  • Patients’ personal homes

  • Patient transport systems

  • In physician offices

  • Retirement, convalescent and swing-bed centers

  • Wellness centers

  • Educational institutions

  • Medical device manufacturers

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Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
01.10.2018
Under the leadership of the Director, Respiratory Therapy, the Respiratory Therapist Registered isan active member of the Respiratory Therapy Department that assists in the delivery of respiratory care and services. The Respiratory Therapist -...
01.05.2018
- RESPIRATORY THERAPIST (RES0023J) Job Description RESPIRATORY THERAPIST-RES0023J Description Position: Respiratory Therapist Location: Main Hospital / Chapel Hill Hours: Full time; 36 hrs/wk; Nights Under the direction of the...
01.19.2018
VCU Health System's Respiratory Therapy CHoR is seeking a PRN Respiratory Therapist to provide safe and effective respiratory care as an advanced practitioner for neonates, adolescent, adult and/or geriatric patients. To serve as a respiratory...
01.19.2018
Provides professional respiratory care for patients within Memorial Specialty Hospital, in support of medical care as directed by medical staff and pursuant to objectives and policies of the hospital. The Respiratory Therapist is responsible for...
09.26.2017
Pomerene Hospital currently has several openings for Respiratory Therapists in our Respiratory Department. These positions include casual part time, part time (18 hours a week) and full time (36 hours a week) The daily work hours for these...
01.19.2018
The Registered Respiratory Therapist reports to the shift supervisor/manager. Capable of setting up and operating various types of equipment to be utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease and or illness. The therapist...
01.19.2018
The Registered Respiratory Therapist reports to the shift supervisor/manager. Capable of setting up and operating various types of equipment to be utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease and or illness. The therapist...
01.19.2018
City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department Respiratory Care Position description A respiratory therapist provides assessment, treatment, and monitoring of cardiopulmonary disease across the continuum of care. A respiratory...
01.19.2018
St. Lukes is looking for a Respiratory Therapist to join us in our strategy to be the communitys trusted partner in providing exceptional, patient-centered care. Respiratory Therapists treats individuals with health care issues affecting the...
01.19.2018
St. Lukes is looking for a Respiratory Therapist to join us in our strategy to be the communitys trusted partner in providing exceptional, patient-centered care. Respiratory Therapists treats individuals with health care issues affecting the...
01.02.2018
The Respiratory Therapist is responsible for respiratory therapy duties including oxygen administration, application of ventilators, initiation, assessment of and recommendations for respiratory care services including diagnostic studies under...
01.16.2018
The Registered Respiratory Therapist provides oxygen administration, aerosol therapy, suction, EKG, ventilator care, blood gases, and intubations to patients. Minimum Requirements: Graduation from an accredited School of Respiratory Therapy,...
01.19.2018
Respiratory Department Respiratory Department has one full time 36 hour Respiratory Therapist position available (night shift 5pm-5am). Weekend and holiday coverage required. State of Maine Respiratory Therapy License, BLS, ACLS, PALS and NRP...
01.19.2018
Respiratory Therapist sets up various types of equipment to administer prescribed doses of medicinal gases and aerosolized drugs. Administers all types of therapy including gas therapy, aerosol therapy, ventilatory assistance, and...
01.19.2018
Respiratory Therapist sets up various types of equipment to administer prescribed doses of medicinal gases and aerosolized drugs. Administers all types of therapy including gas therapy, aerosol therapy, ventilatory assistance, and...
  1. Respiratory Therapist - Respiratory Cordele, GA Crisp Regional Health Services
    Under the leadership of the Director, Respiratory Therapy, the Respiratory Therapist Registered isan active member of the Respiratory Therapy Department that assists in the delivery of respiratory care and services. The Respiratory Therapist -...
  2. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Chapel Hill, NC UNC Health Care
    - RESPIRATORY THERAPIST (RES0023J) Job Description RESPIRATORY THERAPIST-RES0023J Description Position: Respiratory Therapist Location: Main Hospital / Chapel Hill Hours: Full time; 36 hrs/wk; Nights Under the direction of the...
  3. Respiratory Therapist Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's Respiratory Therapy CHoR is seeking a PRN Respiratory Therapist to provide safe and effective respiratory care as an advanced practitioner for neonates, adolescent, adult and/or geriatric patients. To serve as a respiratory...
  4. Respiratory Therapist Lake Charles, LA Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
    Provides professional respiratory care for patients within Memorial Specialty Hospital, in support of medical care as directed by medical staff and pursuant to objectives and policies of the hospital. The Respiratory Therapist is responsible for...
  5. Respiratory Therapist Millersburg, OH Pomerene Hospital
    Pomerene Hospital currently has several openings for Respiratory Therapists in our Respiratory Department. These positions include casual part time, part time (18 hours a week) and full time (36 hours a week) The daily work hours for these...
  6. Respiratory Therapist Tulsa, OK Oklahoma State University Medical Center
    The Registered Respiratory Therapist reports to the shift supervisor/manager. Capable of setting up and operating various types of equipment to be utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease and or illness. The therapist...
  7. Respiratory Therapist Tulsa, OK Oklahoma State University Medical Center
    The Registered Respiratory Therapist reports to the shift supervisor/manager. Capable of setting up and operating various types of equipment to be utilized in the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory disease and or illness. The therapist...
  8. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Rochester, MN Mayo Clinic Campus in Minnesota
    City Rochester State Minnesota Telecommute No Department Respiratory Care Position description A respiratory therapist provides assessment, treatment, and monitoring of cardiopulmonary disease across the continuum of care. A respiratory...
  9. Respiratory Therapist Boise, ID St. Luke's Health System
    St. Lukes is looking for a Respiratory Therapist to join us in our strategy to be the communitys trusted partner in providing exceptional, patient-centered care. Respiratory Therapists treats individuals with health care issues affecting the...
  10. Respiratory Therapist Boise, ID St. Luke's Health System
    St. Lukes is looking for a Respiratory Therapist to join us in our strategy to be the communitys trusted partner in providing exceptional, patient-centered care. Respiratory Therapists treats individuals with health care issues affecting the...
  11. Respiratory Therapist Maple Grove, MN Maple Grove Hospital
    The Respiratory Therapist is responsible for respiratory therapy duties including oxygen administration, application of ventilators, initiation, assessment of and recommendations for respiratory care services including diagnostic studies under...
  12. Respiratory Therapist Hendersonville, NC Pardee Hospital
    The Registered Respiratory Therapist provides oxygen administration, aerosol therapy, suction, EKG, ventilator care, blood gases, and intubations to patients. Minimum Requirements: Graduation from an accredited School of Respiratory Therapy,...
  13. Respiratory Therapist Skowhegan, ME Redington Fairview General Hospital
    Respiratory Department Respiratory Department has one full time 36 hour Respiratory Therapist position available (night shift 5pm-5am). Weekend and holiday coverage required. State of Maine Respiratory Therapy License, BLS, ACLS, PALS and NRP...
  14. Respiratory Therapist Melrose, MA Hallmark Health System
    Respiratory Therapist sets up various types of equipment to administer prescribed doses of medicinal gases and aerosolized drugs. Administers all types of therapy including gas therapy, aerosol therapy, ventilatory assistance, and...
  15. Respiratory Therapist Melrose, MA Hallmark Health System
    Respiratory Therapist sets up various types of equipment to administer prescribed doses of medicinal gases and aerosolized drugs. Administers all types of therapy including gas therapy, aerosol therapy, ventilatory assistance, and...