The term respiratory therapist has been popping up in the news now more than ever before. This leaves many people wondering what an RRT is? A registered respiratory therapist specializes in the healthcare of the lungs. They maintain a multitude of skills to help care for and save lives. Respiratory therapist jobs are plentiful as facilities like hospitals and clinics need RRTs all across the U.S.What Do RRTs Do?
Respiratory therapists are often responsible for patients that have lung-related conditions such as asthma and COPD. Their care is necessary in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for premature babies with underdeveloped lungs. They also address pulmonary dysfunction within the aging baby boomer population, and those who have sleep disorders like sleep apnea. RRTs test lung capacities, oxygen levels, and carbon dioxide levels. An RRT can provide treatments with equipment like ventilators to assist patients who are not able to breathe on their own. They may also use physical contact to assist in the removal of mucus from the lungs. Respiratory therapists work in various facilities like hospitals, clinics, and home care settings, educating patients and their families. They may also provide training on how to stop smoking and how to manage a variety of lung conditions.
Responsibilities of RRTs During COVID-19
Respiratory therapists are heavily involved in providing care to patients that test positive for and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Their responsibilities include tracking oxygen levels, providing appropriate breathing treatments, and making clinical decisions on life-saving therapies. RRTs are responsible for knowing how to use a ventilator and deciding whether the patient will benefit from being on a ventilator. They also decide how long a patient should stay on a ventilator. They are a crucial part of making sure facilities have positive patient outcomes. RRTs have a high risk of contracting COVID-19 because of the close proximity they must be to set up a ventilator. Their willingness to be on the front line during these trying times truly reveals that they are heroes in the medical field.
According to Today, there are approximately 150,000 licensed respiratory therapists in the U.S. with 6,000 to 7,000 set to graduate in 2020. Now more than ever, hospitals are in desperate need of RRTs, especially in highly populated areas and during this COVID-19 outbreak. This is why becoming a travel respiratory therapist is a much-needed career option for those with RT experience who wish to help. Travel RRTs are vital in areas of the U.S. that need help caring for an influx of patients. It is also essential that those of us who are not RRTs learn the value and importance of the work that respiratory therapists are doing every day.
If you’re interested in becoming an RRT, the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) provides all the information you’ll need about respiratory therapy school. The NBRC also has resources on exam preparation across seven specialties and state licensing requirements, along with educational respiratory therapist programs. If you’re already an RRT looking to travel, join our talent community to have a recruiter reach out to you.