Turn on any medical television drama, and we see doctors, surgeons and nurses represented. Because of this rampant exposure, we all have a pretty clear sense of what is required in these careers. Fewer people are familiar with the work tasks associated with a respiratory therapist, which is a lucrative and rewarding career within health care, despite lacking the familiarity that many other health care careers enjoy.
What is a respiratory therapist?
Perhaps you are wondering, what is a respiratory therapist? A respiratory therapist works with patients who struggle with breathing. Working mainly in the hospital setting, respiratory therapists work with a wide variety of patients, including newborn infants who are struggling to breathe with underdeveloped lungs and elderly patients who are managing life with disease of the lungs. One of the reasons respiratory therapists tend to enjoy job satisfaction is because of the opportunity to work one-on-one with patients who desperately need their help. The opportunity to form close relationships with patients from all walks of life is especially attractive.
A respiratory therapist must be caring, sensitive, patient and calm, which is not always easy given that patients and their families are often experiencing distress. Respiratory therapists might also be called in to care for patients who have experienced emergencies, such as heart attacks or shock.
Respiratory therapists often deliver care on a larger team, regularly interacting with physicians, nurses, physical therapists, speech pathologists and other health care professionals. A respiratory therapist provides an important voice on the team.
Respiratory therapy is a wise choice for individuals who want to work in health care but do not have the luxury of time to spend upwards of a decade in school to pursue a medical degree. Careers in physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology are rewarding, yet require graduate work in order to become licensed to provide services. Respiratory therapy is different in that only an associate’s degree is required. Concorde has a strong respiratory therapy program that turns out competent and career-ready respiratory therapists each year who go on to enjoy lucrative and satisfying careers. You could be one of them!