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Respiratory Care Profession

What Does A Respiratory Care Practitioner Do?

Most Respiratory care practitioners work in hospitals, physicians’ offices,  home health agencies, specialized care hospitals, medical homecare equipment supply companies, patient’s homes, and nursing homes. Respiratory Practitioners use the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention and rehabilitation of acute and chronic cardiopulmonary disorders. A practitioner also reviews data of patients, collects additional data and helps develop a respiratory care plan to determine the appropriateness of the current therapy. The Practitioner administers medical gases, humidification and aerosols, aerosol medications, postural drainage, bronchopulmonary hygiene, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, monitors mechanically ventilated patients, maintains artificial airways, performs pulmonary function testing, and collects specimens of blood and other materials and documents necessary information in the patent’s medical record.

The Practitioner must be able to communicate effectively to other members of the healthcare team as well as being able to problem solve to identify and correct malfunctions of respiratory equipment. Therapists must be able to demonstrate appropriate interpersonal skill to work productively with patents, families, staff and co-workers. They must accept directives and maintain confidentiality, do not discriminate and upholds the ethical standards of the profession. There are more than 100,000 respiratory care practitioners in the United States .

Typically, respiratory care practitioners perform procedures that are both diagnostic and therapeutic.

Some of the physical activities include:

  • Lifting up to 50 pounds to assist moving patients/shapes and equipment
  • Stooping to adjust patients or equipment
  • Kneel to perform CPR or other duties
  • Reach 5 feet above the floor to attach respiratory devices to outlets
  • Grasp laryngoscopes, endotracheal tube and syringes
  • Stand for prolonged periods
  • Feel to palpate pulses, skin temperature etc.
  • Push/Pull large equipment
  • Walk for extended periods
  • Hear verbal directions, alarms, through a stethoscope for breath sounds and heart sounds
  • Talk to communicate to patents, co-workers

Mental/Attitudinal Standards:

  • Function safely, effectively and calmly under stressful situations
  • Manage multiple tasks simultaneously
  • Prioritize
  • Exhibit social skills necessary to interact effectively with patients, families, and co-workers with respect, politeness and tact.
  • Maintain personal hygiene consistent with professionals in close contact with patients.