What is a Respiratory Therapist?

DLSPeople of every age need respiratory care, from premature infants to adults. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is the fourth leading killer of adults; people with asthma, bronchitis and emphysema need respiratory therapy. Moreover, people who have had heart attacks, suffered trauma, are born prematurely or have sleep disorders might also need respiratory therapy to help them breathe easier. These are the cases where a respiratory therapist is needed.

Respiratory therapists apply scientific principles to prevent, identify, and treat acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system, such as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, cardiovascular disorders and trauma. Their knowledge of the scientific principles underlying cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, biomedical engineering and technology, enables them to effectively assess, educate and treat patients with cardiopulmonary disorders.

In a hospital setting, the respiratory therapist may play a prominent role in responding to Code Blue or other urgent calls for care in the emergency room. He/she provides care and life-support to patients in the intensive care units, general hospital areas, the pulmonary diagnostics laboratory, and other specialty areas such as rehabilitation. In some hospitals, therapist perform tasks that fall outside their traditional role: pulmonary rehabilitation, smoking cessation counseling, disease prevention and case management.

Responsibilities are varied and demanding for the modern respiratory therapist, from complex diagnostic procedures to supervision of respiratory technicians and equipment. The respiratory therapist may, for example, test a patient’s breathing capacity and determine the concentration of oxygen and other gases in a patient’s blood. Or, he/she may teach patients and their families to use ventilators and other life-support systems in the home.

Age doesn’t matter when it comes to receiving care from a respiratory therapist. Patients range from the premature infant to the eldest of the elderly. The respiratory professional is also involved in diagnostic testing of infants, children and adults with varying medical problems including cardiopulmonary diseases and sleep disorders.

Important Roles Of A Respiratory Therapist

dlsRegistered respiratory therapists are known to apply systematic and theoretical knowledge to patients who need immediate respiratory care. It simply means that they are responsible in providing care to all patients with lung problems that are admitted in the hospital facility. They also give pertinent and truthful judgment about the patient’s condition. All respiratory therapist work and coordinate with other members of the healthcare team in treating patients with respiratory problems.

Respiratory therapists play a vital role in every hospital setting since their job is to provide care to patients suffering from lung disease and disorder. They perform different respiratory care such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation, oxygen therapy, pulmonary drainage special procedures, sputum analysis, mechanical ventilation, humidity-aerosol therapy and health teachings about breathing techniques. They also work with other members of the healthcare team in the hospital setting like the emergency team, ground support, physicians, nurses, and other teams that provide intensive medical and surgical care.  However, some new respiratory therapists choose to work in special settings such as bronchoscopy laboratory, hyperbaric oxygen units and acute care respiratory unit.

They can also perform other things and work in special respiratory settings such as:

  • Pulmonary laboratory – Their responsibility is to complete important lab test and know the exact condition of the patient’s lung.
  • Air or ground units – Respiratory therapist provide care to critical patients outside the hospital facility.
  • Intensive care unit – Their role is to monitor the mechanical ventilators that provides ventilation and oxygen to patients.

Furthermore, respiratory therapists have a very wide and broad scope of responsibilities in the hospital. That is also the main reason why most hospitals hire registered respiratory therapists that have the capability to provide advanced respiratory and pulmonary care to patients. They hire registered respiratory therapists who are competent, skillful and knowledgeable.

 

Tips for Getting Hired as a Respiratory Therapist

Getting hired as a Respiratory Therapist is no easy task. With all the competition that’s out there, it is better to come in prepared. So, with that in mind, here’s a list of things you to remember in order to get hired.

  • respiratory-therapistPut in your application
  • Don’t wait to be called.  A week of wait time before calling them should suffice.
  • Be respectful on the phone and in person
  • Be especially respectful to the secretary
  • Dress nice. You do not need to put on a coat and tie. A common rule is to dress about one stage above what you would use to work.
  • Be respectful, especially to secretaries.
  • Speak excellent English
  • Don’t wear a lot of piercings on your face during the interview.
  • Don’t use too much cosmetics or perfume.
  • Be an excellent listener
  • Know the organization that wants to seek your services
  • Be prompt, which means be about 10 minutes early.
  • Know the name of the interview panel member.  You can do this by looking at the hospital’s web page, or by calling and asking.
  • Bring a copy of your resume, even if you already sent it
  • Practice your answers to questions, such as:
    • What are your strengths?
    • What are your weaknesses?
    • Why do you want to work here?
    • Where do you anticipate to be in five years?
    • What do you do in your free time?
    • Tell me about yourself?
  • Ask questions. This shows you are not all knowing and are willing to pay attention and learn.
  • Be sincere.  Don’t make yourself out to be what you are not.  If you’re character suits the milieu of the medical center, you will make it to the top of the list.  If your character does not fit, there will be other jobs.

The bottom line is any hiring individual will know that you have no experience and that there will be a lot for you to learn. So, this implies that your two best promoting factors are how you present yourself and that you are capable of being turned into the kind of respiratory therapist the organization needs.

Respiratory Therapist Education and Licensing

Respiratory therapist is one of the best profession choices in the United States because of its job perspective which is expected to be higher than the average. Moreover, they also generate roughly $55,870 yearly. Their demand will increase because of also the ever-increasing number of senior people who are going to need health services due to various respiratory conditions.

Respiratory TherapistHere are some Respiratory Therapist education options. There are two possible academic choices to engage in your profession as a respiratory therapist. You can either finish an associate or baccalaureate degree course. An affiliate degree in respiratory treatment is a two year program that serves as an entry level academic need to sit for the licensing exam. This quick and cost-effective choice is good for an ambitious respiratory therapist who does not have financial assistance to pay for a baccalaureate course. On the other hand, if you want to engage in managing positions, you can take a baccalaureate degree in respiratory treatment. This will take you two more years to finish with extra costs in comparison to an associate’s degree. Additionally, you are more likely to get employed as most companies choose baccalaureate graduates than associate ones. You can further increase your knowledge and marketability by acquiring advanced clinical training programs in respiratory treatment.

With regards to licensing and renewal, the National Board of Respiratory Care or NBRC performs the licensing and certification procedures. Your academic degree in tertiary level works as a requirement to sit for the licensing examination. They also provide free practice tests for candidates. Your certificate is subject to be renewed once every two years. You can get in touch with NBRC for more information about the licensing and renewal process.

Advice for Aspiring Respiratory Therapists

respiratory_therapistA Respiratory Therapist is a specific medical care therapist who has graduated from a college or a university and approved a national board validating exam. Respiratory practitioners work under the general guidance of a primary provider, such as a doctor or health professional therapist most often in intensive care units and operating rooms, but also in out-patient treatment centers.

Respiratory therapy has been one of the best medical care professions in the United States. This is due to the increasing population of middle-aged and seniors who will be requiring health support for respiratory cases such as emphysema, serious respiratory disease, pneumonia, and other lung and heart problems in the long run. Other cases that will continue to demand for respiratory practitioners consist of cigarette smoking, air pollution and respiratory emergency situations. These are the tips of a respiratory therapist to aspiring individuals who are willing to traverse this career path:

  • Associate’s and bachelor’s degree graduates will have the same wage rate. The only aspect that will change the wage is the experience. However, if you want to go to the managing level, you will need to take the bachelor’s degree.
  • The job is very constant. Respiratory practitioners and therapists do not just work at medical centers. They are also in-demand for home care sufferers, treatment centers, assisted living facilities and other organizations having respiratory care.
  • Going through a respiratory treatment education and studying is not that easy. However, they will teach you everything you need to learn about respiratory care. Aside from theory sessions, you will encounter hands-on studying in an approved medical center under the guidance of a respiratory therapist.

Lastly, to eligibly work as a respiratory therapist, you will need to get two permits. One is the national certification which will be offered by the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) as soon as you successfully pass their exam. The other certificate is your “state license” which will be given specific state licensing boards.

Respiratory Therapist 101

If you have complications in breathing or are affected by suffocation, heart stroke, heart- and lung-related illnesses, it is better for you to search for therapy and immediate care from respiratory practitioners. They would know what to do as they are the best in cardiology and pulmonology. And one more thing is that, this kind of job is on the trend.

respiratory_therapistAs this is a job that needs abilities and knowledge, the wage is usually good and much like other medical center employees. The figures on respiratory therapist wage range from $40,000 to more than $70,000 and those rely on many aspects such as credentials, experience, states. Respiratory practitioners with more than 5 years of experience live in a suitable state such New York or Washington could actually generate more than $70,000, while people who have credentials as Licensed Respiratory Therapist and stay in colleges and universities could generate around $60,000. On the other hand, the common wage for respiratory in nursing care facilities and workplaces of other health practitioners’ is around $58,000, while the common medical centers pay about $55,880. The variations between states also matter. If a respiratory therapist lives in New York, he could generate around $70,000 while in Northern Dakota, the number is just $57,000. As described above, the requirements of experience is also taken into consideration: the more you have, the higher your wage is.

As mentioned above, a respiratory therapist provides care and therapy to sufferers who have complications breathing or cardiopulmonary problems. It makes no difference who you are, how old you are, if you have lung-related or respiratory illnesses, they would be the ones who treat you. In many medical centers, with regards to immediate cases such as a heart stroke, drowning or shock, respiratory practitioners would be called for immediate care. This job is not only engaged in many types of sufferers but also available in many places. A respiratory therapist could work in various environments: from working in nursing care facilities, medical centers to teaching in universities, colleges and vocational schools. They might choose to work in a private office with frequent hours or medical centers, treatment centers with opportunities to work at evenings, Saturdays and Sundays in case of emergency.

Rise of Respiratory Therapists

When Santa Fe Community College graduate Marilu Herrera began working as a respiratory therapist at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho about 18 months ago, she gained a starting pay of about $24.40 hourly. That was more than her sister, who has a bachelor’s degree from the University of New Mexico, was making as a medical lab technician in those days. “I think, with an associate’s degree and as a respiratory therapist, you can start off pretty well,” said Herrera, who was not amazed to listen to that a new review declares that college learners who generate an associate degree often earn more money than those who have a bachelor’s degree, at least in the first year or two of work.

respiratory_therapistBut Herrera’s sister has lately caught up to her in wage, another point made in the new research, “College Pays: But a Lot More for Some Graduates Than for Others.” The 47-page document, written by Mark Schneider, president of College Measures, uses data from five states, Arkansas, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia, to track the earning power of school graduates. In three of the states, Colorado, Texas, and Virginia learners with specialized associate degrees like respiratory therapist, generate more in their first year of work than their alternatives with bachelor’s degrees. The review focuses on programs that are more remunerative than others. Graduates with health, engineering and business degrees are out-earning those with liberal arts degrees. And despite increasing dependency on STEM programs in educational institutions, the report indicates that the technology part of that plan does not pay off economically for those earning degrees in biology or chemistry. It hints that learners should focus on TEM and not STEM.

For example, Texas learners with specialized associate degrees gained an average of at least $11,000 more in their first season of employment than learners with bachelor’s degrees. Still, Schneider recognized that, gradually, learners with bachelor’s degrees gradually economically outpace those who only have associate degrees. Santa Fean Sarah Rodriguez-Aguilar, who is the clinical supervisor for the respiratory therapy department at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, is aware of that all too well. She gained her second associate degree from Santa Fe Community College and gained $20.18 an hour plus benefits when she began working at the medical center. But upon getting her bachelor’s degree via Pima Medical Institute, her wage increased by $5 an hour.

Respiratory Therapist Education Development

Noelle is a constantly expecting mannequin who lives at the University of Virginia’s School of Nursing.  She has a pulse rate and blood pressure, joint parts at the hip, eyes that open, knee and ankle, a uterus, a baby who has been delivered a lot of times and thanks to various laptop or software applications, she speaks. “My back is killing me.  I’m so weak.  Please, I need something for the pain! “ Noelle is one of seven high-tech mannequins at UVA.  She costs $60,000.  A male design, who sweats, has convulsions and is wi-fi, costs $90,000.  But the lab’s associate director Linda Peffley-Firer says it’s a smart financial commitment.

respiratory_therapist“Yes – knowledge is expensive, but you know what?  So are lives, so we train here.” And university student Leslie Murphy says practice is the key to competent care. “You do things over and over and over again and then it becomes more second nature, so that when we get into the hospital with actual sufferers, we do not have to think so much about, ‘Am I holding the needle right,’ or, ‘Is the blood pressure cuff the right size?’  Everything that you believed simple, like one-step procedure actually has 25 actions you did not observe them doing.”

Lab  Manager Reba Moyer-Childress contributes that university students learn to work as a group, since many professionals may be engaged in looking after for sufferers. “How do we make sure that they are where we want them to be?  How do we make sure that that mom who is in distress gets to the OR in a timely fashion?  How will the anesthesiologist and the respiratory therapist respond?  I mean Noelle has had sometimes 30 people with her in the OR, trying to help save her child and her life.”

“Please help me. One more push. One more push. Got a go.  You are almost there.  Shoulder area now.  She is here.  You have got a baby girl!” Each simulated medical scenario is noticed from a control room and documented. There’s a camera at each place, so learners can record themselves and go back and review it on their own and enhance their performance.” After each period, respiratory therapist learners sit with their teachers to discuss what went right, what went wrong and what could be done in a different way.

Life of a Respiratory Therapist

Searching the internet about respiratory therapist is not that simple. You just get the same details over and over again. Individuals do not seem to know that a respiratory therapist is a vital job, especially when it comes to pulmonary conditions. When you take up respiratory treatment, it is considered a specialty about the respiratory system. It has some resemblances to nursing, because it is a degree and you will need a national evaluation to be able to fully practice the career. In other words, a respiratory therapist is also a health care professional.

respiratory_therapistHowever, very few details are known about this career. If you look up in the Wikipedia and wellness care websites, you only get a few articles about them. From what I understand, a respiratory therapist is the one who manage the airway of sick sufferers. Respiratory therapist is part of the team that is called on for critical projects like intubating a sick individual or starting mechanical air flow for trauma patients. When you come to think about it, respiratory treatment is as useful as the nursing career.

The job of a respiratory therapist has experienced its highs and lows as well. Many will think of them as part of the bottom rung of the ladder. They are not handled as professionals, yet their degree says otherwise. Some respiratory practitioners find this kind of treatment unjust, because they save the lives of sufferers too. It is not simple to make the sufferers breathe normally in forced situations, yet the respiratory practitioners discover a way to make sure that their respiratory system would be performing well. Hopefully, as more details are known about respiratory treatment, most people would realize the value they have to the health care industry. They are also like nursing staff that are willing to help and care for the sufferers.

Respiratory Therapist Career

Respiratory therapists provide care for sufferers who have trouble breathing; for example, from a serious respiratory disease, such as asthma or emphysema. They also provide emergency care to sufferers suffering from strokes, heart attack, drowning, or shock. Respiratory therapists need at least an associate’s degree, although both associate’s and bachelor’s degrees are typical. Respiratory therapists are certified in all states except Alaska; specifications differ by state.

Respiratory treatment increased out of the nursing career when it was decided that a specialty in respiratory/pulmonary conditions and illnesses guaranteed the full attention of a devoted career. Since that period, respiratory treatment has progressed into a worldwide identified medical resource. Asthma and lung cancer are deadly diseases around the world. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a major cause of loss of life in the U.S. The statistics are terrifying, growing and risking the total well being of many individuals.

Becoming a respiratory therapist delivers new significance to the words “multitasking.” Handling several sufferers at once needs creativity and effective personal effective time control, which in my day was termed as “thinking on the feet.”  And you have a choice as to where you would like to apply your abilities, with adult, children or neonatal patients: critical care, med/surgical, urgent services, recovery, home care, bronchi features, transportation (air and ground), disaster management, sales, education or research. Respiratory treatment technology is regularly changing, demanding a personal dedication to learn new techniques and programs. Anyone can force a key and do the minimum required to get by in their career, and many do so. However, you can be all that you can be in this career, if you so choose. I recommend it, because there will always be a need for respiratory therapists and it can open many professional gates and options.