Respiratory Therapists have a very important, major job duty: to assist patients who suffer from cardiopulmonary problems, such as infections and chronic diseases. Their work is always performed under the direct supervision of a physician, and their responsibilities encompass evaluating, diagnosing, and treating disorders that affect breathing.
Respiratory therapists perform diagnostic cardiopulmonary evaluations and respiration therapy treatments designed to treat patients with deficiencies and dysfunctions of the cardiopulmonary system. Cardiopulmonary evaluation involves acquiring, analyzing, and interpreting data that is obtained from diagnostic tests and specimens.
Jobs for respiratory therapists, although largely found in critical care hospitals, may be located in a number of healthcare settings, such as skilled nursing homes, surgical hospitals, outpatient care centers, rehabilitation centers, sleep disorder clinics, and patient transport systems (e.g., ambulance and life flight services). As such, job duties differ according to facility.
For example, respiratory therapists in acute-care settings are responsible for operating and maintaining acute care ventilators for both short- and long-term mechanical ventilation of adults, pediatrics, and neonates, while respiratory therapists in skilled nursing homes are often responsible for administering oxygen therapy and aerosol therapy, airway maintenance, and tracheal suctioning.
Work settings for Respiratory Therapists may include hospitals, free standing ERs, skilled nursing facilities, sleep clinics, and physician's offices.
Duties include, but are not limited to:
Conducting and monitoring prescribed therapeutic and diagnostic procedures
Maintaining artificial and natural airways
Performing pulmonary function testing
Performing hemodynamic monitoring and other physiologic monitoring
Documenting information to a patient’s medical record/maintaining accurate and complete records
Communicating assessments and updates with members of the healthcare team
Assembling, maintaining, and calibrating respiratory therapy equipment
Identifying and remedying respiratory care equipment malfunctions
Communicating with patients and patient families
Educating patients on disease prevention and lung health
Educating patients on the use of inhalers and inhalation devices
Performing testing to assist in diagnosis, treatment, and research
Application and monitoring of medical gases
Environmental control systems
8+ months of recent work experience as a Respiratory Therapist (excluding clinical rotations)
RRT required (NBRC)
Current TB Screen
Valid Photo Identification/Driver's License
Successful completion of a Background Check and Medely's screening process