Respiratory care practitioners generally work with medical firms, such as doctors' offices and the intensive care units (ICU) or emergency rooms (ER) of hospitals, but may also provide at-home services for clientele of all ages. These practitioners usually work during traditional weekly business hours, as well as occasional weekends depending on the employer. They report directly to the Director of Critical Care in their medical department and work with numerous patients with a variety of respiratory problems, including emphysema, pneumonia, cardiovascular disorders, and other cardiopulmonary issues.
Aspiring respiratory care practitioners should have at least an associate's degree in an accredited respiratory care program, though a graduate degree from an AMA-approved school of respiratory therapy is highly recommended. Following graduation, applicants will be eligible to take exams administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care to become registered and certified. Prospective applicants are also required to have current licensing in their respective state, as well as CPR and first-aid certification.
Respiratory Care Practitioner Tasks
Determine requirements for treatment; type, method and duration of therapy based on physicians' orders.
Set up and operate mechanical and therapeutic devices following specified parameters of treatment.
Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy; vital signs, arterial blood gases and blood chemistry changes and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
Maintain patient charts with therapy information.
Inspect, clean, and test respiratory therapy equipment.