What is a Respiratory Therapist?



            Respiratory Care is a highly technical and specialized field of allied health care that deals with patients suffering from a broad range of conditions, illnesses, and injuries effecting the respiratory system, pulmonary system, and cardiovascular system. This includes a very broad range is specialized skills that include patient assessment, inhaled medication delivery, airway management, ventilator management, hemodynamics, CPR, and many other advanced skills and tasks.

           In the hospital setting a Respiratory Therapist is a vital part of the health care team. As specialists in respiratory therapy, airway management, ventilator management, and acid/base balance they perform a broad range of basic and advanced skills. They include patient assessment, inhaled medication delivery, arterial puncture, arterial line placement, airway management, endotracheal intubation, ventilator management, and many others.

            Respiratory Therapists participate in direct patient care in virtually all areas of the hospital – general and telemetry floors, emergency medicine, critical care, cardiac cath and special procedure labs, nuclear medicine, and operating rooms.

            A Respiratory Therapist is an advanced practitioner. As such they are often called upon to assist in a wide variety of unexpected situations. Basically, if there is a potentially unstable patient anywhere in the facility it’s a pretty sure bet that a Respiratory Therapist is in the area ready to assist. It’s often been said that sometimes just having a Respiratory Therapist present makes the rest of the health care team, and the patient, feel a little more comfortable.


"Because at the Head of Every Team is a Respiratory Therapist..."



NOTICE from the Author:

No Medical Advice: These writings are my own personal words based solely on my own personal clinical experiences, education, and research. I am NOT a Physician and therefore DO NOT give out medical advice under any circumstance. The writings within BreathSounds, BreathSounds Media, and BreathSounds.Org are in no way intended to be taken as medical advice of any kind.

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