Respiratory Therapist Training….respiratory therapists work with highly specialized equipment which is used to treat patients with breathing difficulties. Working with a team of physicians and other medical professionals, a respiratory therapist helps to evaluate and treat patients with lung disease.
It’s necessary therefore, that respiratory therapist training takes a therapist two years to complete in order to attain at least an Associate’s degree.
Working with people suffering from such illnesses as cystic fibrosis, emphysema and various other breathing problems brought on by heart disease, smoking and cancer can be challenging. A respiratory therapist is required to measure a patient’s lung capacity, set up ventilator equipment and monitor it’s use, test patients for lung abnormalities and assist them in the use of equipment in their home.
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Respiratory Therapist Training Programs
Anyone aspiring to become a respiratory therapist needs to take the two year Associate’s degree program with a college or university that is accredited by The Commission of Accreditation of Allied Health Education programs.
Good communication skills and the ability to work well within a team of other healthcare workers is essential, as are math, computer and problem solving attributes.
Training programs for an Associate’s degree include anatomy, physiology, microbiology, respiratory therapy principles and procedures. This two year course also includes ‘hands on’ work in a hospital under supervision, where a student will learn how to communicate with patients and work with other members of staff.
A Bachelor’s degree covers pediatric respiratory therapy, neonatal respiratory therapy, elderly care, critical care and rehabilitation. Often a four year degree program leads to a graduate being certified as a registered respiratory therapist (RRT), and this, of course, can lead to further advancement.
Another part of the training program includes learning how to give patients chest physiotherapy. Patients with cystic fibrosis need physiotherapy almost daily in order to remove the mucus from their lungs. This requires the physiotherapist to arrange the patient in such a way so that they can carry out their therapy which will expel the mucus and make their patients able to breathe more easily.
A respiratory therapist uses oxygen mixtures and aerosol medication. Part of their work involves teaching patients how to inhale from the aerosol so that the best results are achieved.
A therapist must be able to adjust the level of oxygen a patient is receiving and in some instances insert a tube into the patient’s trachea or windpipe. This is then connected to a ventilator, and ensures the concentration of oxygen entering the patient’s lungs is correct. A therapist is therefore responsible also for the working of the equipment and any maintenance needed.
During the training program students will experience many of these practices first hand as they carry out part of their training under the guidance of a physician.
Many respiratory therapists now carry out education work within hospitals, helping people to understand the dangers of smoking, for instance, and guiding them through a program which will help them to cease.
Working with infants born prematurely is specialized work and can be very rewarding. Premature babies’ lungs have not developed sufficiently and it’s the therapist’s job to ensure the baby is carried safely through the first few months of it’s life by helping them to breathe.
Any good college or university will provide respiratory therapist training programs, so it’s up to the individual to decide how far they want to go in their training. An Associate’s degree will certainly help you to find a position in a hospital or clinic. If you want to go further and specialize, or just have more chance of advancement, then a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree will certainly help you to do just that.
Many respiratory therapists go on to become teachers, or manage agencies for trained therapists. The opportunities are there to be able to carve out a successful and lucrative career in the healthcare industry.
Respiratory therapists are becoming more and more in demand due to the aging population. It’s estimated that the demand will increase significantly over the next ten years.
Respiratory therapist training trains students to understand the breathing mechanism of the body, and how to treat it when things go wrong. Helping patients through an extremely traumatic time is all part of a respiratory therapists daily routine.