What is a Respiratory Therapist?
While you may think that respiratory therapists deal with only the breathing and the lungs, you are only half right. Respiratory therapists actually help treat conditions of the cardiopulmonary system.
What is the cardiopulmonary system?
The hearts and blood vessels of the cardiovascular system cannot function properly without the respiratory system, which involves the lungs and the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide between the air you breathe and your blood. The combination of heart and lungs working together is the cardiopulmonary system.
The respiratory therapists are trained to treat conditions of the cardiopulmonary system.
What education is required to be respiratory therapist?
In order to gain entry-level employment a two-year associate degree is necessary. Many schools that offer career-focused programs in the healthcare industry have training for people considering an associate degree in respiratory therapy.
In a respiratory therapy program, you will study such topics as: the cardiopulmonary anatomy, airway management, critical care, EKGs, and medical pharmacology. Study in these areas can help prepare you for opportunities in this field.
What do respiratory therapists do?
From a premature infant on a ventilator to adults of various ages with pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, heart disease, and emphysema, a respiratory therapist will help doctors diagnose and treat patients.
Job functions can include: analyzing lung function, monitoring patients, administering oxygen, supervising ventilators, administering drugs to the lungs, and promoting good lung health.
Where do respiratory therapists work?
Many respiratory therapists will work in hospitals, and as advancements in medicine are made with such things as lung transplants, we could see quite a demand in the field. In addition, more respiratory therapists will be needed in nursing homes as the large baby boomer population grows older.
What’s more, respiratory therapists will be needed for home health care and oxygen equipment companies as well as government, community or other organizations that sponsor smoking cessation programs.
If you are interested in learning more, contact an allied health school near you today that offers a respiratory therapy program.