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Work in Respiratory Therapy

By: Ian Murnaghan BSc (hons), MSc - Updated: 4 Jan 2020 | comments*Discuss
Respiratory Therapy Breathing Nursing

Respiratory therapists play a very important role in the health field. They provide respiratory treatments to patients who struggle with conditions that affect their breathing or anything relating to a cardiopulmonary disorder. Their role spans diagnostics right through to patient treatment and record management.

Studying to Become a Respiratory Therapist

For education, you typically need to be at a diploma or degree level. Some people begin with a nursing degree and then take graduate work in respiratory therapy. Most of the coursework is heavily science-based, with patient-focused components such as patient management, computers and diagnostic procedures.

Typical Day as a Respiratory Therapist

A typical day working as a respiratory therapist will involve treating many kinds of patients, from young to elderly. You will work with physicians and other healthcare employees as part of a team to help manage patient care. Most likely, you will also be providing specific respiratory diagnostics and therapies to patients, such as lung capacity testing and blood testing.

Skills to Succeed in Respiratory Therapy

Respiratory therapists work closely with physicians and other health professionals. This requires you to have excellent communications and people skills. Some may work in nursing facilities or even as a source of information in respiratory sales for equipment to hospitals and other facilities.

You should also have a strong attention to detail and be able to follow instructions well when given from a physician or other member of staff. Solid computer skills are necessary to ensure data is entered correctly and confidentially. For patient care, a good bedside manner is essential, particularly to support patients who are frustrated with long-term breathing conditions.

Career Progression in Respiratory Therapy

There is good scope to progress in this field as you gain more experience. You may start by working in a clinical setting but may move up to a role where you look after patients who are critically ill. Eventually, you may even be able to work in a teaching role within a hospital or university.

Salaries in Respiratory Therapy

Job prospects are currently high and this area is expected to rise significantly over the next decade, particularly with breathing problems in most areas on the rise. A typical wage varies but tends to average around £25,000 to £35,000 per year. Much will depend on the level of responsibility and your role as benchmarked within a respiratory care team.

Choosing Respiratory Therapy for a Health Career

Respiratory therapists have a huge responsibility because they play a key role in something vital to all patients – breathing. They tend to be caring people who have a good understanding of science, are organised and can work well within the team.

If you feel you have these skills and are interested to become a respiratory therapist, the first step is to speak with an academic advisor at a university. It’s also a good idea to talk to someone already working as a respiratory therapist. This way, you can get a better sense of the daily challenges, helping you to decide if working as a respiratory therapist is the right health career for you.

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I have an associate degree in respiratory therapy from the US, with 28 years of experience. Can I do anything to qualify for work in the medical field in the UK? Thank you.
Bely - 4-Jan-20 @ 7:28 PM
Hi, I'm a qualified respirstory therapist in the Philippines and now lives in the UK. I wish to ask how I can get qualified to practise my profession in the UK? Do I need to undergo another training or just take up an enhancement program? Please advise. Thank you!
Thomas - 20-Jun-19 @ 4:11 AM
Greg Mirt - Your Question:
Normal respiration is the key elemnt of good breathing dynamic.

Our Response:
Many thanks for your comments.
AHealthCareer - 25-May-16 @ 2:04 PM
Normal respiration is the key elemnt of good breathing dynamic.
Greg Mirt - 25-May-16 @ 12:40 AM
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