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Also known as:
Certified Respiratory Therapist, CRT, Inhalation Therapist, Oxygen Therapist, Registered Respiratory Therapist, Respiratory Therapist, RRT
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.
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.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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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.
Assisting and Caring for Others
Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
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.
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
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.
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, interdependencies, and interactions with each other and the environment.
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.
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.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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).
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
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.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Actively looking for ways to help people.
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
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.