Respiratory Care Job Description

Respiratory Care is an allied health specialty concerned with the performance of diagnostic cardiopulmonary evaluation and respiratory therapy treatment applied to patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. It includes related education of the patient, family and public.

Cardiopulmonary evaluation includes the acquisition, analysis and interpretation of data obtained from physiologic specimens, performance of diagnostic tests including pulmonary function and sleep studies, research of the cardiopulmonary system, as well as neurophysiological studies related to respiratory care.

Specific testing techniques are employed in respiratory care to assist in diagnosis, monitoring treatment and research. This is understood to include measurement of ventilatory volumes, pressures, flows, blood gas analysis and other related physiologic monitoring. Respiratory therapy techniques include the application and monitoring of medical gases and related administration apparatus, environmental control systems, humidification systems, aerosols, inhaled medications, ventilatory support, bronchopulmonary drainage, pulmonary rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and airway management, which may include emergency endotracheal intubation.

A day in the life of a Respiratory Therapist might include…

  • Diagnosing lung and breathing disorders and recommending treatment methods.
  • Interviewing patients and doing chest physical exams to determine what kind of therapy is best for their condition.
  • Consulting with physicians to recommend a change in therapy based on your evaluation of the patient.
  • Analyzing breath, tissue and blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen and other gases.
  • Managing ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who cannot breathe normally on their own.
  • Responding to Code Blue, Medical Response Teams or other urgent calls for care.
  • Educating patients and families about lung disease so they can maximize their recovery.

General Job Description

Utilizes the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention, remediation, research, and rehabilitation of acute or chronic cardiopulmonary dysfunction thereby producing optimum health and function.

Reviews existing data, collects additional data, and recommends obtaining data to evaluate the respiratory status of patients, develop the respiratory care plan, and determine the appropriateness of the prescribed therapy.

Initiates, conducts, and modifies prescribed therapeutic and diagnostic procedures such as: administering medical gases, humidification and aerosols, aerosol medications, postural drainage, bronchopulmonary hygiene, cardiopulmonary resuscitation; providing support services to mechanically ventilated patients; maintaining artificial and natural airways; performing pulmonary function testing, hemodynamic monitoring and other physiologic monitoring; collecting specimens of blood and other materials.

Documents necessary information in the patient’s medical record and on other forms, and communicates that information to members of the health care team. Obtains, assembles, calibrates, and checks necessary equipment.

Uses problem solving to identify and correct malfunctions of respiratory care equipment. Demonstrates appropriate interpersonal skills to work productively with patients, families, staff, and co-workers. Accepts directives, maintains confidentiality, does not discriminate, and upholds the ethical standards of the profession. 

Top of page