Respiratory Therapists Help Patients Breathe Easier
Breathing is one of the most natural functions of the human body, but some people find themselves struggling to take their next breath. Respiratory therapists can open the possibilities of better breathing, leading to an improved quality of life.
"The role of the respiratory therapist is to provide treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system," says John Campbell, RRT, lead therapist and clinical educator, Lee Memorial Hospital.
Respiratory therapists work in acute care hospitals with adults; pediatric patients, including premature infants; and seniors. Their work takes place in surgical services, air and ground transport, emergency and trauma departments, neonatal/pediatric intensive care, and medical, cardiac and surgical intensive care.
"Respiratory therapists may choose diverse working environments such as a diagnostic pulmonary laboratory, sleep laboratory, long-term care unit, hyperbaric oxygen unit, or work as traveling therapists, home care therapists, pulmonary rehabilitation or pharmaceutical sales representatives," John says.
The respiratory therapist administers medical gases and aerosols and mechanical ventilation lung treatments. Therapists also practice basic and advanced life support techniques, non-invasive patient monitoring, pulmonary function evaluation, arterial blood gas analysis, airway management procedures and pulmonary rehabilitation techniques.
"The respiratory therapist in the hospital setting is rotated throughout the different units," John says. "Not being in the same place all the time is a unique privilege. One of the best things about working in this field is the independence."
Breath of Life for Pulmonary Patients