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

Respiratory Therapist

Jump to:

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.

.

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

.

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. 

.

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

.

Salary Outlook

Title Company Location Posted
08.18.2017
- RESPIRATORY THERAPIST - RESPIRATORY THERAPY (RES0022Q) Job Description RESPIRATORY THERAPIST - RESPIRATORY THERAPY-RES0022Q Description Position: Respiratory Therapist Location: Main Hospital/Chapel Hill Hours: Nights;...
08.09.2017
The Respiratory Therapist will provide services, timely and efficiently, at appropriate levels to all patients and in all settings served by the department. The Respiratory Therapist will also perform tasks and duties as outlined in the...
08.23.2017
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...
08.23.2017
Work where you make a difference! If youre looking for a place where you can grow in your personal life, in your career, and in your community, St. Lukes may be just the place for you. A strong, talented staff is at the heart of St. Lukes...
08.23.2017
The Respiratory Therapist is the primary provider for direct patient respiratory care. The staff therapist is expected to be well versed in current treatment modalities and should be able to offer current and up to date advice to other problem...
08.23.2017
Sidney Health Center is a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in Sidney, MT, along the scenic Yellowstone River in eastern Montana. Our friendly, progressive Respiratory Therapy department is looking for a full time staff Respiratory Therapist join...
08.23.2017
Work where you make a difference! If youre looking for a place where you can grow in your personal life, in your career, and in your community, St. Lukes may be just the place for you. A strong, talented staff is at the heart of St. Lukes...
08.23.2017
Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 4,700 employees, and 1,100 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare operates two-acute care hospitals, the Cape's...
08.23.2017
Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 4,700 employees, and 1,100 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare operates two-acute care hospitals, the Cape's...
08.23.2017
Licensed as Respiratory Therapist in the State of Idaho or can obtain
12.13.2016
The Registered Respiratory Therapist or Cerified Respiratory Therapist will perform assigned Cardiopulmonary diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Provide care to inpatients and outpatients of all ages. Document all procedures performed in the...
08.23.2017
A professional who is able to meet the needs of patients of all ages physically, socially and emotionally. Must be able to accept responsibility for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating care for patients. Is responsible for own...
08.23.2017
The Respiratory Therapist is the primary provider for direct patient respiratory care. The staff therapist is expected to be well versed in current treatment modalities and should be able to offer current and up to date advice to other problem...
08.23.2017
PAY RANGE: $20.41 - $30.04 per hour JOB SUMMARY: This individual is responsible for the provision of Respiratory Care in acute care, critical care, surgical suites, skilled nursing facilities, and other clinical areas, in addition to...
08.23.2017
JOB SUMMARY: This individual is responsible for the provision of Respiratory Care in acute care, critical care, surgical suites, skilled nursing facilities, and other clinical areas, in addition to responsibilities of quality improvement and...
  1. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST - RESPIRATORY THERAPY Chapel Hill, NC UNC Health Care
    - RESPIRATORY THERAPIST - RESPIRATORY THERAPY (RES0022Q) Job Description RESPIRATORY THERAPIST - RESPIRATORY THERAPY-RES0022Q Description Position: Respiratory Therapist Location: Main Hospital/Chapel Hill Hours: Nights;...
  2. Respiratory Therapist Lawton, OK Southwestern Medical Center
    The Respiratory Therapist will provide services, timely and efficiently, at appropriate levels to all patients and in all settings served by the department. The Respiratory Therapist will also perform tasks and duties as outlined in 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 Boise, ID St. Luke's Health System
    Work where you make a difference! If youre looking for a place where you can grow in your personal life, in your career, and in your community, St. Lukes may be just the place for you. A strong, talented staff is at the heart of St. Lukes...
  5. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Leominster, MA HealthAlliance Hospital
    The Respiratory Therapist is the primary provider for direct patient respiratory care. The staff therapist is expected to be well versed in current treatment modalities and should be able to offer current and up to date advice to other problem...
  6. Respiratory Therapist Sidney, MT Sidney Health Center
    Sidney Health Center is a Top 100 Critical Access Hospital in Sidney, MT, along the scenic Yellowstone River in eastern Montana. Our friendly, progressive Respiratory Therapy department is looking for a full time staff Respiratory Therapist join...
  7. Respiratory Therapist Boise, ID St. Luke's Health System
    Work where you make a difference! If youre looking for a place where you can grow in your personal life, in your career, and in your community, St. Lukes may be just the place for you. A strong, talented staff is at the heart of St. Lukes...
  8. Respiratory Therapist Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Healthcare
    Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 4,700 employees, and 1,100 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare operates two-acute care hospitals, the Cape's...
  9. Respiratory Therapist Hyannis, MA Cape Cod Healthcare
    Cape Cod Healthcare is the leading provider of healthcare services for residents and visitors of Cape Cod. With more than 450 physicians, 4,700 employees, and 1,100 volunteers, Cape Cod Healthcare operates two-acute care hospitals, the Cape's...
  10. Respiratory Therapist Gooding , ID North Canyon Medical Center
    Licensed as Respiratory Therapist in the State of Idaho or can obtain
  11. Respiratory Therapist Lenoir, NC Caldwell UNC Health Care
    The Registered Respiratory Therapist or Cerified Respiratory Therapist will perform assigned Cardiopulmonary diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Provide care to inpatients and outpatients of all ages. Document all procedures performed in the...
  12. Respiratory Therapist Peru, IL Illinois Valley Community Hospital
    A professional who is able to meet the needs of patients of all ages physically, socially and emotionally. Must be able to accept responsibility for assessing, planning, implementing and evaluating care for patients. Is responsible for own...
  13. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Worcester, MA UMass Memorial Medical Center
    The Respiratory Therapist is the primary provider for direct patient respiratory care. The staff therapist is expected to be well versed in current treatment modalities and should be able to offer current and up to date advice to other problem...
  14. Respiratory Therapist Mason City, IA Mercy Medical Center North Iowa
    PAY RANGE: $20.41 - $30.04 per hour JOB SUMMARY: This individual is responsible for the provision of Respiratory Care in acute care, critical care, surgical suites, skilled nursing facilities, and other clinical areas, in addition to...
  15. Respiratory Therapist Mason City, IA Mercy Medical Center North Iowa
    JOB SUMMARY: This individual is responsible for the provision of Respiratory Care in acute care, critical care, surgical suites, skilled nursing facilities, and other clinical areas, in addition to responsibilities of quality improvement and...