What To Expect In A Respiratory Therapist Career
What does the respiratory therapist career have in store for you? The respiratory therapist job description covers both technical and medical care. While it is basically providing treatment to persons with lung or breathing problems, you work with a lot of equipment and instruments, which requires some technical aptitude.
Is the RT better than an RN?
There is a debate as to who is the more competent between a respiratory therapist and a nurse. Both play vital roles in health care facilities and will often have to work together. Critical care patients require the attention of both an RT and an RN.
Most nurse training include aspects of respiratory care; but even the respiratory technician with just two years of education will be more knowledgeable for the simple reason that their studies and the skills they developed were specifically geared towards this area. It is a different story if the nurse has specialized training in the field of pulmonary care.
The respiratory therapist career begins at the technician level. A two year associate degree from a community college or university will provide you with the know-how, theoretical and practical, to function as a vital member of the medical team.
Helping people breathe easy
As specialist your job is to manage the airway of patients with breathing problems. And more than any health care staff, you may be called upon to handle a wide spectrum of patients, from a premature infant, whose lungs were underdeveloped, to an octogenarian suffering from chronic asthma.
Critical care or trauma patients are among those who require the care of a respiratory technician or therapist. You intubate, work with respirators or mechanical ventilation to ensure the patient will breathe again, and normally.
These professionals are calm but quick, detail-oriented, sharp and able to think critically even under extreme pressure. These traits are essential for the RY professional because a person has to keep breathing to stay alive. If you possess these qualities, then the respiratory therapist career may be right for you.
Rewards and benefits
While there are quite a few respiratory therapists who complain about not getting the respect they deserve from their medical colleagues, the salary of an RT is almost at par with a nurse. At least at the entry level.
The pay, however, will vary on factors like location, place of work, credentials and education and training. Expect at least $18 to $19 an hour to start. But experts will tell you that's low considering there are employers who can pay up to $40 with enough experience.
The usual benefits are granted to respiratory technicians and therapists such as insurance, dental coverage, and paid vacations. The work can be stressful especially when working on critical care patients.
Room for growth
The outlook for the respiratory therapy career is bright. As the population ages and pollution continues to be a growing concern, more people are afflicted with breathing problems that require immediate medical attention.
As long as you received excellent training and have tucked in a lot of practical experience, looking for jobs won't be a problem.
One advice given to RTs is to study further to boost their chances at advancement. Demonstrate your capability and never cease to improve yourself and live by professional ethics.
Mostly it is the deep sense of satisfaction that you are able to save lives or keep people alive that makes it attractive to pursue a respiratory therapist career.