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Respiratory Therapy

Page Index: Respiratory Therapy

Academic Information: -  top

What is Respiratory Therapy?  top

Respiratory therapy is best described as the assessment and treatment of patients with both acute and chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. Today’s respiratory therapists have demanding responsibilities related to patient care and serve as vital members of the healthcare team.

Respiratory therapists must have a broad knowledge of the pathophysiology of the cardiopulmonary system and the complex procedures required to properly diagnose and treat patients, from the very young to the very old.

Career Information  -  top

Typical Job Titles -  top

  • Respiratory therapist
  • Respiratory care practitioners
  • Supervisory or managerial positions in a respiratory therapy department.
  • Respiratory therapists in home care and equipment rental firms may become branch manager.
  • Sales representatives
  • Equipment designers for equipment manufacturers.

Typical Places of Employment -  top

  • Hospitals (departments of respiratory care, anesthesiology, or pulmonary medicine) and medical centers
  • Clinics
  • Educational Institutions
  • Retirement Centers
  • Patients’ Homes
  • Durable medical equipment rental companies, home health agencies, and nursing homes
  • Rehabilitation Centers
  • Physician Offices
  • Wellness Centers
  • Patient Transport System

Required Skills and Abilities  -  top

  • Compassion: People and families dealing with breathing issues need emotional support and understanding.
  • Attention to Detail: Respiratory therapists must make sure they closely monitor their patients, so that the proper care and medication is given.
  • Interpersonal Skills: Respiratory therapists work with a team of peers, and work closely with patients. The ability to speak clearly when giving instructions and listen to concerns is very useful.
  • Patience: Clients often need a lot of attention, or will have trouble learning the techniques they are being taught. Patience is key.
  • Problem-Solving: Evaluating a patient's needs and determining the best course of action is very important to the job.
  • Science and Math Skills: Knowing sciences like anatomy and physiology, and using math to figure out medical dosage is necessary.

Alumni Resources  -  top

(Listed below are examples of SU Alumni and their Jobs in this major-For more alumni resources, go to Mentor Network)





Danette Wolford 2005 RRT-NPS The Johns Hopkins Hospital NICU
Kenneth Garritano 2000 Hospital Pharmaceuticals Specialist AstraZeneca
Mwelwa Changwe 2005 Respiratory Therapist Peninsula Regional Medical Center
Jude Muneses 1988 Physician Jude C. Muneses, MD

Related Links: Further Explore this Career Field - top

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