People who work in this field can look forward to an exciting profession with unique challenges, and best of all, they can enjoy that fact that they are making a positive impact on many patient’s lives. As you will discover when you read any respiratory therapist job description, these professionals are also called respiratory care practitioners. They take care of people who suffer from breathing disorders or other cardiopulmonary problems. Respiratory Therapists normally work under a physician, but they are often responsible for supervising respiratory technicians.
Consulting with the advising physician, they develop patient care plans. They also modify the plans depending upon the patient’s reaction to them. Although they work under a physician, they are responsible for making extremely important independent decisions. These decisions are of particular importance when they are caring for patients who are in the intensive care units of hospitals.
Respiratory therapists work with a vast variety of patients. Their patients include people of all ages from premature babies who were not able to complete their lung development while in utero to elderly patients with lung diseases. They also work with patients who have a variety of diseases from chronic asthma to emphysema, and they assist patients who are having breathing difficulties as a result of a recent heart attack, stroke, drowning incident, or extreme shock.
When working with patients, a respiratory therapist job description includes interviewing the patient, testing their lung capacity, comparing their test results to normal results for healthy patients with the same age and weight, and determining treatment options. When testing lung capacity, these therapists use special instruments. When testing the levels of oxygen in their patient’s blood, these therapists are responsible for drawing a blood sample from an artery. The therapists will help the patients by using machines like ventilators and chest physiotherapy techniques like tapping the patient’s rib cage.
A respiratory therapist job description will tell you that they work between 35 and 40 hours per week. They may work in hospitals where their schedules vary from mornings to nights, or they may work in home setting where they have to travel to see their patients. In homes, they may be responsible for training patients how to use various types of equipment, and in hospitals their duties may be so diverse that they include smoking cessation counseling. The average respiratory therapist does many things, but their primary function is to help people breathe better.