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Respiratory Therapist

Career Information

Respiratory therapists are licensed health professionals who apply scientific knowledge and theory to practical clinical problems of respiratory care. The respiratory therapist is qualified to assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care modalities. The respiratory therapist may be required to exercise considerable independent clinical judgment, under the supervision of a physician, in the respiratory care of patients.

With some regional variation, the role of the respiratory therapist may include duties such as evaluation of all data and cardiopulmonary physical assessment to determine the appropriateness of the prescribed respiratory care and participates in the development of the respiratory care plan; select, assemble, and check all equipment used in providing respiratory care; initiate and conduct therapeutic procedures and modify prescribed therapeutic procedures to achieve one or more specific objectives; maintain patient records and communicate relevant information to other members of the health care team; and assist the physician in performing special procedures in a clinical laboratory, procedure room, or operating room.