Respiratory Therapists

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Also known as:  Certified Respiratory Therapist, CRT, Inhalation Therapist, Oxygen Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, RRT

ABOUT RESPIRATORY THERAPIST CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Most of us take breathing for granted. But not everyone is that fortunate. Because of an accident or illness, some people need assistance to breathe. They may rely on respiratory therapists. These professionals have gone to college for at least an associate's degree to learn about respiratory illnes ...
ses - conditions that affect the lungs, such as asthma and emphysema. Therapists also learn how to treat people who are having trouble breathing because of an injury or stroke.

Struggling to breathe can be frightening. So a calm, reassuring manner is essential. That includes taking the time to clearly explain procedures and answer questions. Using a ventilator and breathing tube, the therapist delivers oxygen to a patient's lungs.

They usually work under a doctor's supervision in hospitals and clinics, although some therapists visit patients through home care services. It's not unusual to work nights and weekends - and spend a lot of time standing and bending. Tanks can be heavy, and because gas under high pressure can be hazardous, you must handle them with care.

Much of this work can also be done by respiratory technicians. But because they have more limited responsibility than therapists, the job of technician is being phased out. With America's population aging, it's expected that more therapists will be needed in the years ahead. So this field offers good job opportunities. Many people are able to breathe easier, knowing they're in the care of trained respiratory therapists.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Assess, treat, and care for patients with breathing disorders. Assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians. Initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures; maintain patient records; and select, assemble, check, and operate equipment.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
HIGH
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Conduct tests, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), stress testing, or lung capacity tests, to evaluate patients' cardiopulmonary functions.
Use a variety of testing techniques to assist doctors in cardiac or pulmonary research or to diagnose disorders.
Perform pulmonary function and adjust equipment to obtain optimum results in therapy.
Demonstrate respiratory care procedures to trainees or other healthcare personnel.
Make emergency visits to resolve equipment problems.
Teach, train, supervise, or use the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, or assistants.
Perform bronchopulmonary drainage and assist or instruct patients in performance of breathing exercises.
Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
Relay blood analysis results to a physician.
Inspect, clean, test, and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary.
Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, or blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Biology Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
Psychology Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
Physics Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Oral Expression The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Problem Sensitivity The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Information Ordering The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Written Comprehension The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Active Learning Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
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