Health Sciences
Holloway Hall

About the Profession of Respiratory Therapy

If you enjoy working in a fast-paced environment where your technical and scientific responsibilities will be matched by a real need for human relations skills, the profession of Respiratory Therapy may be the career you are seeking. Respiratory Therapy is a health care specialty that offers a set of unique challenges in the areas of prevention, treatment, management, and rehabilitation of people with diseases of the lungs and cardiovascular system. 
As a Respiratory Care Practitioner, you will be involved in a wide variety of life-saving and life supporting situations. You will work side by side with physicians, nurses, and other on the health care team, treating patients ranging in age from newborns to senior citizens. Your expertise will be in demand, and opportunities to expand your knowledge and skills will be great.
Respiratory Care Practitioners are respected members of the medical community, and face the constant challenges of working in a health care profession. As a member of this dynamic profession, you will be a witness to some of the best adventures and discoveries in health care, and the same time, develop a solid career that will take you as far as your ambition dictates.
The work of Respiratory Care Practitioners in hospitals is under the direction of qualified physicians and frequently involves the administration of daily treatments to a variety of patients. Using sophisticated medical equipment, they help people with such disorders as asthma, emphysema, pneumonia, and bronchitis. As practitioner, coach, and friend you use a personal approach to help these patients get the most out of the therapy that their doctors have ordered.
Respiratory Care practitioners also work as members of the critical care team in treating individuals who are seriously ill. This will include using equipment that will mechanically breath for the patient. With the assistance of sophisticated monitoring devices and techniques, you give around-the-clock care to individuals who otherwise would not be able to survive life-threatening conditions ranging from sever head trauma to chest wounds.
Other Respiratory Care Practitioners spend all or part of their time working in pulmonary laboratories where they help evaluate various cardiopulmonary diseases. By measuring lung volumes or administrating gases or aerosols, they assist the physician in determining the type and extent of the patient's disease, as well as how well the therapy prescribed is working. Regarded as experts in the respiratory and cardiac systems, Respiratory Care Practitioners are often called upon to offer advice and help in deciding which course of care to prescribe.
Part of an ever-changing profession, Respiratory Care Practitioners are also beginning to specialize in particular areas of pulmonary care. There is an increasing demand for therapist in the areas of newborn care,  pediatrics, home care, cardiopulmonary technology, and health education and management. Many practitioners find themselves working full-time in these specialty areas that offer many opportunities for advancement.

A Bright Future

You will find many employment opportunities in the field. The profession has grown so quickly since its inception in the late 1940's, that demand for manpower has exceeded supply making the Respiratory Care Practitioner's talents a precious commodity in most medical institutions. In addition, many clinics, nursing homes, and home care programs are beginning to realize the potential benefits of having a trained Respiratory Care Practitioner on staff. Coupled with the ever-increasing number of cardiopulmonary disorders being diagnosed, these demands ensure that individuals who enter the profession will enjoy good career opportunities. By offering an exciting and challenging working environment, solid career opportunities, and a real chance to help others, Respiratory Care is indeed "A Profession for Now and the Future."