What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?


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The article "What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do" talks about the duties and the responsibilities of a Respiratory therapist, the work environment and places where they can find work (hospitals, etc.). It also talks about the educational routes, certifications and other relevant credentials which can help to become a respiratory therapist. Also, it discusses how much do they make and what is the career scope in the years to come.

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What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?

  1. 1. What Does a Respiratory Therapist Do?With the economy in a state of flux, it can be extremely difficult to find well-paying employment. Theconcept of job satisfaction also seems mythical, to many. With entire departments getting the axe in asingle day, stability is much sought after and seldom found. But healthcare is one of the few industrieswhere the holy employment trinity of job satisfaction, stability, and lucrative economic prospects can bemore than just a distant dream. According to current data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcareis one of the largest industries in terms of employment, and generates over 14.3 million jobs.*Respiratory therapy is one of the fastest-growing healthcare professions, which means it is likely thatqualified job seekers will find employment quickly. Americans are living longer than ever before, so thepopulation of elderly citizens is on the rise. Since the elderly are most likely to suffer from respiratoryissues, the demand for respiratory therapists is on the rise. In 2008, respiratory therapists heldapproximately 105,900 jobs, and earned an average of $52,200. By 2018, the number of jobs held byrespiratory therapists is projected to increase by 21 percent, which is much faster than for the averageprofession. **So what does a respiratory therapist do? A respiratory therapist works under the supervision andconsultation of a physician and other staffs to evaluate, treat, and act as a caregiver to patients withrespiratory and other cardiopulmonary disorders. Their patients range from infants with underdevelopedlungs to patients with chronic asthma or emphysema to the older age-bracket with dysfunctional/diseasedlungs. They also provide short-term relief to victims of strokes, drowning, shock, etc. Employmentavenues for respiratory therapists range from hospitals, offices of physicians, and nursing care facilities,and they can also offer healthcare at their patients’ homes.You require a minimum of an associate’s degree from an accredited college to become a respiratorytherapist. Those who wish to can also pursue a bachelor’s degree in Respiratory Therapy. The idealrespiratory therapist program provides theoretical instruction and practical training to give students arounded education that will equip them for prospective careers. Areas of study include general studies aswell as cardiopulmonary anatomy, patient assessment, respiratory care, cardiopulmonary diagnostics andmonitoring, lung expansion therapy, bronchial hygiene, and trauma care, as well as a clinical practicumthat allows students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations.High school students who are drawn to this field should opt for courses in mathematics, biology, physics,chemistry, and health in preparation for their higher education and prospective careers. In addition to therespiratory therapist degree, most states require that you carry a license, which can be attained bymeeting the requirements of the National Board for Respiratory Care. Also, most employers preferapplicants who have a CPR certification.As with most healthcare professions that require interaction with patients, respiratory therapists need tobe sensitive to their patients’ physiological and psychological needs. They need to have strongcommunication skills and be able to put their patients at ease. So if you have an interest in and a knackfor the sciences, have good people skills, and seek a career that will allow you to contribute to the welfareof others, you should definitely consider enrolling in a respiratory therapy school, and pursue a career inrespiratory therapy.Source:* bls.gov/oco/cg/cgs035.htm** bls.gov/oco/ocos321.htm