Respiratory Therapists & The Importance of Respiratory Care

Every year, since 1982 when President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Respiratory Care Week, we take the time to breathe easier. The last full week in October is about highlighting the hard-working doctors, nurses, and respiratory therapists that help patients with breathing difficulties.

These difficulties can be due to chronic conditions like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). October is also Healthy Lung Month and this week we celebrate these talented and important healthcare professionals. Respiratory Care Week is internationally recognized but most notably observed in Canada and the United States.

What does a respiratory therapist do?

Respiratory therapists help patients of all ages battle breathing problems. These problems not only include chronic conditions but can also involve people who need emergency respiratory care after accidents, heart attacks or strokes. Respiratory therapists manage patients on ventilators and assess patients’ blood-oxygen level. Additionally, they provide advice on respiratory care and teach people to use respiratory aids or other treatments.

Certified respiratory therapists (CRTs) tend to work with non-critical patients in respiratory departments. They administer various types of treatments such as chest physiotherapy or aerosol therapies. CRTs work with the patients directly managing their evaluations, but they don’t diagnose or create the treatment plans. They are part of an important team that balances disease prevention, management, patient education and treatment plans.

Respiratory therapists are very versatile professionals. Their jobs can include treatment plans for premature babies with lungs that haven’t fully developed, all the way to elderly patients battling disease. CRTs must have a wide knowledge base of the cardiopulmonary system to work with such an inclusive group of patients. They also must be experts in the machines and devices used to administer respiratory care treatments.

Who are respiratory therapists?

Respiratory therapists are compassionate critical thinkers with excellent communication skills. They provide emotional support to patients undergoing treatment, and are able to quickly assess and solve problems in emergency situations. In addition, they are invaluable team players that can communicate with members of the medical team, patients, or their families in difficult situations.

Showing Support for Respiratory Care

Respiratory Care Week gives everyone a chance to thank these versatile and talented healthcare professionals for all they do to make us better. It’s time to shine a spotlight on respiratory therapists’ effort to reduces disabling lung conditions helping their patients breathe easier. The American Association for Respiratory Care or AARC put together some awesome gear to help show support and solidarity for respiratory therapists.

If you are a respiratory therapist and interested in local or travel opportunities, check our job portal. We have opportunities available across the country and our recruiters are happy to guide you every step of the way.