Consider Respiratory Therapy

Consider Respiratory Therapy
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    When considering the field of work that you would like to pursue in the future, it is important to check out what someone who works in that field does every day.

    When it comes to the respiratory therapy field, the type of setting the respiratory therapist works in will largely determine the kind of work that he or she will do.


In the near future, the growth of the number of respiratory therapists needed across health care settings will grow by almost 20 percent. As this need will be spread out across several setting types, each type of setting will have unique requirements. Here are some duties that are involved in each setting where respiratory therapists are employed.

Home Care

Working in the home care setting involves traveling to patient’s homes to deliver care. Much of the time, you will be counted on to provide education to patients and their families on how to best manage their condition at home. Chronic conditions such as asthma or diseases such as COPD are managed through home respiratory treatments. The predominant patient types for home care are geriatric or pediatric. This setting requires good listening and communication skills as well as the aptitude for self-directed work.

Acute Care

In the acute care setting, be prepared to work on your feet for most of your shift with patients that may be in crisis. Trauma victims may need life-saving respiratory support and patients on ventilators need to be treated and monitored. Newborns may also need respiratory care for example if they are born with premature lungs. Respiratory therapists in this setting need to be able to work as a team with other health care specialties when treating a patient and be able to make quick assessments.

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Long Term Care

In the long term care setting, the geriatric population is prevalent. Some patients need respiratory therapy as a part of stroke rehabilitation or as a program of chronic disease management. A therapist will work under the direction of a managing nurse or medical director. The emphasis is on comfort and gaining the maximum amount of functionality possible. Therapists working in long term care must have compassion and patience to work with the geriatric population.


Respiratory therapists in a pediatric clinic setting work with children and adolescents to treat conditions such as asthma and severe allergies, as well as help some patients manage multiple conditions that impact their breathing such as cystic fibrosis and pulmonary diseases. Treatment may range from oxygen and inhalation therapy to maintaining positive airway pressure. To work in pediatrics, a therapist must be able to work positively with children when they are frightened, in crisis, or in pain.


If this career seems like a good fit for you, UC’s respiratory therapist degree program could prepare you to enter the growing field of respiratory therapy. Subjects covered include anatomy and physiology of the respiratory system, diagnostic testing for cardiopulmonary issues, and pediatric care considerations.

Respiratory therapy is a field that truly makes a fundamental difference in the lives of newborns to geriatric patients. It is a medical care specialty that makes a positive impact in health management.

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Categories: Career Planning