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
10.16.2019
Respiratory Therapist - Respiratory Required- Graduate of an accredited respiratory therapy program. RRT Wyoming license, current BLS and ACLS certification. Current driver license. Must have the ability to be on-call after hours and...
10.16.2019
Provides professional respiratory care for patients within an assigned critical care unit and/or floor of a hospital, in support of medical care as directed by medical staff and pursuant to objectives and policies of the hospital. The...
10.16.2019
Provides professional respiratory care for patients within an assigned critical care unit and/or floor of a hospital, in support of medical care as directed by medical staff and pursuant to objectives and policies of the hospital. The...
06.11.2019
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 -...
10.14.2019
Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton is committed to improving the health of our community by providing exceptional, personalized health care with dignity, compassion and respect. Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton is looking for part...
10.16.2019
Position functions within the Respiratory Care department at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital to provide respiratory therapy modalities per protocol and those ordered by physicians to improve the cardiopulmonary conditions of patients from neonatal to...
10.16.2019
Human Resources Respiratory Therapist Updated: a day ago DATE POSTED: September 9, 2019 DEPARTMENT: Cardiopulmonary/ Sleep Lab POSITION: Respiratory Therapist TYPE POSITION: Full-Time HOURS: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 6:00 pm -...
02.15.2018
Respiratory Therapist PRN Contact: pmcdonald@mrhc.org QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: EDUCATION: Graduate of an AMA approved school Certified National Board of Respiratory Care. Registered by the National Board of Respiratory Care. ACLS is...
07.26.2019
MHCC is looking for a Respiratory Therapist. This is a full time night position. Responsible for daily patient assignments and work performed on each assigned shift. Performs a variety of cardiopulmonary therapeutic procedures in the...
10.14.2019
Professional/Technical Holzer HMC Respiratory Therapy Per Diem, Varied Shifts, Varied Salary: Please Contact HR for further information; 740.446.5105 Works under the direct supervision of the Respiratory Therapy Manager. Assists in planning...
10.16.2019
Responsible for the performance of all therapeutic and diagnostic procedures available through the respiratory department with complete understanding of the equipment, supplies, indications, and contraindications for use, and physiological...
09.11.2019
Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Performs assessment, diagnostic testing, prescribed treatment and care of the respiratory therapy patient. Evaluates effectiveness of treatment and maintains department records....
09.18.2019
Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Performs assessment, diagnostic testing, prescribed treatment and care of the respiratory therapy patient. Evaluates effectiveness of treatment and maintains department records....
09.25.2019
Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Performs assessment, diagnostic testing, prescribed treatment and care of the respiratory therapy patient. Evaluates effectiveness of treatment and maintains department records....
10.14.2019
VCU Health System's Respiratory Care Services is seeking a full time Respiratory Therapist 3 to provide safe and effective respiratory care as an advanced Respiratory Therapist for neonate, pediatric, adolescent, adult and/or geriatric...
  1. Respiratory Therapist - Respiratory Lovell, WY North Big Horn Hospital District
    Respiratory Therapist - Respiratory Required- Graduate of an accredited respiratory therapy program. RRT Wyoming license, current BLS and ACLS certification. Current driver license. Must have the ability to be on-call after hours and...
  2. Respiratory therapist Lake Charles, LA Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
    Provides professional respiratory care for patients within an assigned critical care unit and/or floor of a hospital, in support of medical care as directed by medical staff and pursuant to objectives and policies of the hospital. The...
  3. Respiratory Therapist Lake Charles, LA Lake Charles Memorial Hospital
    Provides professional respiratory care for patients within an assigned critical care unit and/or floor of a hospital, in support of medical care as directed by medical staff and pursuant to objectives and policies of the hospital. The...
  4. Respiratory Therapist 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 -...
  5. Respiratory Therapist Milton, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Milton
    Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton is committed to improving the health of our community by providing exceptional, personalized health care with dignity, compassion and respect. Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital Milton is looking for part...
  6. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Juneau, AK SEARHC
    Position functions within the Respiratory Care department at Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital to provide respiratory therapy modalities per protocol and those ordered by physicians to improve the cardiopulmonary conditions of patients from neonatal to...
  7. Respiratory Therapist Hardinsburg, KY Breckinridge Health
    Human Resources Respiratory Therapist Updated: a day ago DATE POSTED: September 9, 2019 DEPARTMENT: Cardiopulmonary/ Sleep Lab POSITION: Respiratory Therapist TYPE POSITION: Full-Time HOURS: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday 6:00 pm -...
  8. RESPIRATORY THERAPIST Corinth, MS Magnolia Regional Health Center
    Respiratory Therapist PRN Contact: pmcdonald@mrhc.org QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS: EDUCATION: Graduate of an AMA approved school Certified National Board of Respiratory Care. Registered by the National Board of Respiratory Care. ACLS is...
  9. Respiratory Therapist Douglas, WY Memorial Hospital of Converse County
    MHCC is looking for a Respiratory Therapist. This is a full time night position. Responsible for daily patient assignments and work performed on each assigned shift. Performs a variety of cardiopulmonary therapeutic procedures in the...
  10. Respiratory Therapist Gallipolis, OH Holzer
    Professional/Technical Holzer HMC Respiratory Therapy Per Diem, Varied Shifts, Varied Salary: Please Contact HR for further information; 740.446.5105 Works under the direct supervision of the Respiratory Therapy Manager. Assists in planning...
  11. Respiratory Therapist Covington, LA St. Tammany Parish Hospital
    Responsible for the performance of all therapeutic and diagnostic procedures available through the respiratory department with complete understanding of the equipment, supplies, indications, and contraindications for use, and physiological...
  12. Respiratory Therapist Plymouth, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth
    Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Performs assessment, diagnostic testing, prescribed treatment and care of the respiratory therapy patient. Evaluates effectiveness of treatment and maintains department records....
  13. Respiratory Therapist Plymouth, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth
    Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Performs assessment, diagnostic testing, prescribed treatment and care of the respiratory therapy patient. Evaluates effectiveness of treatment and maintains department records....
  14. Respiratory Therapist Plymouth, MA Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital - Plymouth
    Essential Duties and Responsibilities: Performs assessment, diagnostic testing, prescribed treatment and care of the respiratory therapy patient. Evaluates effectiveness of treatment and maintains department records....
  15. Respiratory Therapist 3 Richmond, VA VCU Health System
    VCU Health System's Respiratory Care Services is seeking a full time Respiratory Therapist 3 to provide safe and effective respiratory care as an advanced Respiratory Therapist for neonate, pediatric, adolescent, adult and/or geriatric...