What Do Respiratory Therapists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

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. They also perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own.

Other tasks include:

  • Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • 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.
  • Set up and operate devices, such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment.
  • Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures or related duties.
  • Maintain charts that contain patients’ pertinent identification and therapy information.
  • Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.

We asked Respiratory Therapists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

74%

How meaningful is this job

81%


74% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 81% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



Featured Respiratory Therapist Schools

Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Respiratory Therapists maintain charts that contain patients’ pertinent identification and therapy information. They inspect, clean, test, and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary.

A typical day for a Respiratory Therapist will also include:

  • Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.
  • Work as part of a team of physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals to manage patient care by assisting with medical procedures or related duties.
  • 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.
  • Set up and operate devices, such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, or aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment.
  • Determine requirements for treatment, such as type, method and duration of therapy, precautions to be taken, or medication and dosages, compatible with physicians’ orders.

We asked some Respiratory Therapists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?94% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?65% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?91% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?67% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?16% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?83% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Respiratory Therapists also perform endotracheal intubation to maintain open airways for patients who are unable to breathe on their own. They may also transport patients to the hospital or within the hospital.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Respiratory Therapists Provide emergency care, such as artificial respiration, external cardiac massage, or assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They might also Perform pulmonary function and adjust equipment to obtain optimum results in therapy.

In addition, they Teach, train, supervise, or use the assistance of students, respiratory therapy technicians, or assistants.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Demonstrate respiratory care procedures to trainees or other healthcare personnel.

To some Respiratory Therapists, it is also their responsibility to Conduct tests, such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), stress testing, or lung capacity tests, to evaluate patients’ cardiopulmonary functions.


Working life

Working hours

Less than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Regular schedule like a 9 to 5

In a typical work week as a Respiratory Therapist, you can expect to work less than 40 hours per week.

Do Respiratory Therapists work in an office-style work environment?

Every day
94%


Never
5%


Do Respiratory Therapists work outdoors?

Never
95%


Once a year
5%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Helpers and The Thinkers

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with, communicating with, and teaching people. They like helping or providing service to others..

They also like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Respiratory Therapists

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Related to Respiratory Therapists Job Description

Respiratory Therapists job description, what do Respiratory Therapists do, typical day for Respiratory Therapists, what is it like to work as a Respiratory Therapist, how many hours do Respiratory Therapists work, day to day work of a Respiratory Therapist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/healthcare/respiratory-therapists.htm
http://www.aarc.org/
http://www.nbrc.org/


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