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Respiratory Therapist Job Duties

A respiratory therapist’s main role is to provide therapeutic care for patients with severe breathing and cardiopulmonary disorders.

Respiratory therapist responsibilities include evaluating patients, conducting diagnostic tests on them and monitoring blood oxygen levels to ease distress caused by breathing and pulmonary problems.

In addition, respiratory therapist job duties involve setting up and using the cardiopulmonary equipment and monitoring systems needed to assist patients with breathing problems.

In most cases respiratory therapists report to physicians, and also work under their direct supervision. In that role, they are often called upon to help develop treatment programs for patients, to monitor those plans and modify them as needed.

As part of their responsibilities, respiratory therapists are expected to work with patients across a wide spectrum of ages ranging from premature babies to senior citizens.

Their duties can be therapeutic in nature, as is the case when helping a patient with a chronic condition such as emphysema.

Or, it could be reactive in nature, such as in providing emergency room care to patients suffering breathing problems and at the risk of dying as the result of a stroke or a heart attack.

Respiratory therapists typically perform most of their duties in a hospital or clinical facility though they sometimes may be called up to deliver their services in homecare and hospice settings as well.

Because of the critical nature of their work, the respiratory therapist’s role is often considered as one of the most critical in delivering healthcare, after the physician.

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