does a Respiratory Therapist do?
do Respiratory Therapists do
Therapists (RT's) care for patients who have trouble breathing;
for example, from a chronic respiratory disease, such as asthma
or emphysema. Their patients range from premature infants with
undeveloped lungs to elderly patients who have diseased lungs.
They also provide emergency care to patients suffering from
heart attacks, drowning, motor vehicle accidents, or shock.
According to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics, the national median annual wage of respiratory
therapists was $54,280 in May 2010. The median wage is the wage
at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that
amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less
than $39,990, and the top 10 percent earned more than $73,410.
If you choose to stay in the Southeast Kansas area, the average
median salary is about $40,000.
Respiratory therapists typically do
Interview and examine patients
with breathing or cardiopulmonary disorders
Disease management for patients
with cardiopulmonary disease
Consult with physicians to
develop patient treatment plans
Perform complex diagnostic tests
such as electrocardiograms, arterial blood gas analysis,
sleep studies, and measuring lung capacity.
Treat patients, using a variety
of methods, including mechanical ventilation, chest
physiotherapy, and medications.
Monitor and record the progress
Teach patients and family
members how to use treatments.
Employment of respiratory therapists
is expected to grow by 28 percent from 2010 to 2020, faster than
the average for all occupations. Growth in the middle-aged and
elderly population will lead to an increase incidence of
respiratory conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis,
and pneumonia, respiratory disorders that permanently damage the
lungs or restrict lung function. These factors will lead to an
increased demand for respiratory therapy services and
treatments, mostly in hospitals and nursing homes. In addition,
advances in preventing and detecting disease, improved
medications, and more sophisticated treatments will increase the
demand for respiratory therapists. Other conditions affecting
the general populations, such as smoking, air pollution, and
respiratory emergencies, will continue to create demand for