As today’s population continues to grow and people starts to live longer, the health care system depends on the qualified medical personnel in providing basic patient care and services while keeping the cost at its minimum. A lot of the functions that are done by doctors before are now being performed by highly trained persons like respiratory therapists to make sure that the patients are having the best quality of care at a more affordable cost.
Respiratory therapist or also called as respiratory care practitioners, do their jobs by evaluating, treating and caring for patients. As part of the healthcare team, respiratory therapists have the primary responsibility in all respiratory care treatments. They also work with the physicians and other health care team in making a treatment plan for the patient. Respiratory therapists deal with all types of patients from infants to the elderly people with respiratory who had stroke of heart attack. Respiratory therapists also examine the patient physically and perform such tests. They determine the levels of oxygen in the blood and also measure the patient’s pH to determine the acidity or alkalinity of the blood. They also measure the patient’s lung capacity by letting them breathe into the instrument. This test will determine if the patient has lung problems. To examine the blood pH levels, the respiratory therapists will draw blood and place it in a blood gas machine analyzer. The results of this test will be given to the physician for further evaluation. In treating respiratory diseases, the therapists either provide oxygen to patients experiencing difficulty of breathing. Respiratory therapists also perform chest physiotherapies on patients to loosen mucus from their lungs. They also provide equipments to provide artificial oxygenation to those who cannot breathe alone. Respiratory therapist work in hospitals for 40 hours a week and some work during the evening or weekends.
Being a respiratory therapist, a person needs to have a respiratory therapists education. Having an education is the first step in reaching a person’s dream of becoming a respiratory therapist. There are a lot of respiratory therapist schools out there offering this education. One must choose an accredited university, college or vocational school. These schools offer both an associate and baccalaureate degree. If one is looking for a job, employers usually look for those with an associate degree. Having a certificate takes two years to complete. Schools offer subjects like science, anatomy and physiology in order to understand how the body functions especially the respiratory system. They also include subjects on how to use the equipments and how to do the procedure. Students are also exposed in the clinical area to have their internships for them to gain more experiences.
Respiratory therapist salary varies on the location and setting. Specializations also play a big part in determining how much a person will earn. For an hour, respiratory therapist may earn from $25-$32 per hour. Yearly, they will earn for $50,000. The lowest earning will be $36,000 a year and the highest is $66,000.