What is Respiratory Therapy?

Respiratory Therapy is a specialized health care field where practitioners are trained in pulmonary medicine in order to work therapeutically with people suffering from pulmonary disease.

A day in the life or an RT may include:

  1. Diagnosing lung and breathing disorders and recommending treatment methods. 
  2. Managing ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who can’t breathe normally on their own. 
  3. Interviewing patients and doing chest physical exams to determine what kind of therapy is best for their condition. 
  4. Responding to Code Blue or other urgent calls for care. 
  5. Consulting with physicians to recommend a change in therapy, based on your evaluation of the patient. 
  6. Educating patients and families about lung disease so they can maximize their recovery. 
  7. Analyzing breath, tissue, and blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen and other gases.

Where do RTs Work?

In Hospitals: giving breathing treatments to people with asthma and other respiratory conditions.

Intensive Care Units- Managing ventilators that keep the critically ill patients alive.
Emergency Rooms- delivering life saving treatments and stabilizing patients.
Newborn Units- helping children with conditions ranging from premature birth to cystic fibrosis
Pediatric Units- helping children different conditions.
Operating Rooms- working with anesthesiologists to monitor patients' breathing during surgery.


In Patient's Homes- providing regular check-ups and making sure people have they need to stay out of the hospital

In Sleep Laboratories - Helping to diagnose disorders like sleep apnea.

In Skilled Nursing Facilities - and pulmonary rehabilitation programs helping older people breather easier and get more out of life.

In Doctor's Offices- conducting pulmonary function tests and providing patient education.

In Asthma Education Programs- helping children and adults alike learn how to cope with the condition.

In Smoking Cessation Programs- assisting those who want to kick the habit for good.

In Air Transport and Ambulance Programs- rushing to rescue people in need of immediate medical attention.

In Case Management Programs- helping devise long-term care plans for patients.


Source: https://be-an-rt.org/what-is-respiratory-therapy/where-rts-work/