Respiratory Care Therapist – Career Connections – CET


♪ (woman)
People breathe all the time. It’s something that
we don’t think about. It’s something
that we do naturally. My name’s Emily Horning. I’m a registered
respiratory therapist at Mercy Health
Fairfield Hospital. I have two types of patients:
those that breathe and those that don’t breathe. So sometimes patients
understand their breathing, and sometimes
people have no idea. We come in
and help them understand. We help them manage
their breathing. We help give medicine
to control their breathing, and sometimes when it
becomes a critical situation, we breathe for them. A typical day
as a respiratory therapist is similar to a nurse. We could have an easy day, where everyone’s
breathing well, but intermittently, there are
emergencies that we run to. Respiratory, Emily.
How can I help you? I work three days a week,
a 12-hour shift. Within that day, I see a patient
at least three times. I start with my initial round. I visit each patient.
I visually assess them. I check their oxygenation
using a pulse oximeter. I listen to their breath
sounds with my stethoscope, and I can then
determine their medicine given by the doctor’s order. Then I will see them 3-4 hours later to make sure that they’re
still trending upward. Many times,
we do come into situations where patients aren’t
getting better, but worse. That’s when we communicate
with doctors and nurses. [beeping] My job entails seeing
lots of types of patients– everyone who breathes. A big part of my job is managing
the oxygenation of a patient. All people
in the environment are breathing
the atmospheric 21% oxygen, so we supplement
that percentage. If they need a lot
of supplemental oxygen, something’s wrong. My job is to then ventilate,
meaning get the bad air out, whether noninvasively
or invasively. We can hear fluid
in the lungs, when lungs aren’t
opening with air, and we can determine
where the problem is. We also use X-rays and CT scans to determine
the type of fluid, and sometimes
we even use MRIs. We use a lot
of diagnostic skills when teaming up
with nurses and doctors to determine
what’s really going on. We can either try
a noninvasive method to ventilate the patient, such as a BiPAP machine. It’s a machine that blows air
in and then pulls air out. Sometimes it’s not enough. And sometimes
this is where we decide to take over
the patient’s breathing because they can’t
do it on their own. This is when the doctor
intubates a patient, meaning put the tube
down your airway in order to connect you
to a mechanical ventilator. We are the people
who run the life support. This is the most exciting
part of my job, but the most challenging. This is someone’s family member,
so it can be serious. It can be rewarding
when the patient comes back and you can take that tube away,
and wean that ventilator back, and take your support back, and that patient is breathing
on their own again. That’s really cool
to help somebody breathe again. [ringing] Respiratory, Emily.
How can I help you? One of the big parts
of my education was my clinical experience
and getting out there and being with patients, getting comfortable
with patients. That’s only something
you learn how to do on the job. The level of education
currently needed is an associate’s degree
of applied science in respiratory care
technology. It’s a two-year degree. There are fundamental courses
you need to get into that. Once you’re in your program,
you are in clinicals. Most of your education is
being on-site in hospitals, in diagnostic testing labs, so that really
made a difference for me. You have to understand
that numbers draw a picture
in the body. There are lots of ways
to gear your subjects to getting a good base
and foundation. I would focus on chemistry,
the physics, the biology, any communications courses, any math courses like
algebra and even calculus. I would advise students,
if they’re interested in working in a hospital
or with a patient population, to be a transporter. Getting those little jobs,
those feet-in-the-door moments that can then
support you to decide whether you want to be a nurse
or a respiratory therapist or be a doctor, so you can see
how a hospital works and be encouraged to do it. You’re in a community of people
that have already done it. There’s lots of ways
to help people breathe better. Sometimes it takes convincing,
but speaking with people, educating them on having
a better quality of life, that’s the part that I enjoy. Funding to purchase and make
this educational production accessible was provided by the
U.S. Department of Education: PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V)
or WEB: www.ed.gov. ♪

3 thoughts on “Respiratory Care Therapist – Career Connections – CET”

  1. My advice for students: Get out now!! Don't buy the AARC/NBRC hype. I could write a book about this fields problems but, the #1 issue above all: The job outlook. It's garbage. Not only is there a high likelihood you'll have no choice but to move but, a profession with such a bleak outlook puts you at risk of falling prey to some big, shitty, abusive hospital and being stuck there. I hate my hospital with a passion!! That ruthless hellhole made me truly regret choosing Respiratory. Even after 3 years HARD experience at that place, i still can't get a job elsewhere because the job outlook sucks so bad. This isn't what i fought so hard for, to spend all my years getting my ass kicked like this.

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