A Day in the Life of a Respiratory Therapy Technician
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A Day in the Life of a Respiratory Therapy Technician

Apr 08, 2010

A respiratory therapy technician helps people who have breathing issues. They work with respiratory therapists to set up breathing apparatus, administer treatments, and record improvements and changes on a patient’s medical charge. So what is it like to walk in the shoes of a respiratory therapy technician? Finding out can help you determine whether training for a job as a respiratory therapy technician is the right career path for you.

If you work in a hospital or large center then you will likely start your day at around 7 am. You may meet with the respiratory therapist to discuss active cases, or you may have to go through reports and schedules to find out what your duties for the day are.

After gathering your schedule you will begin your rounds with patients. First you will meet with them to assess their current condition, which may have changed and may require an adjustment of treatment. Once you are assured that the treatment prescribed by the respiratory therapist is still the best course of action given the patient’s current condition then you can begin treatment.

Before, during, and after treatment you will be with the patient to explain what the equipment does, what the expected result of the treatment will be, and any physical changes they may experience. You will closely monitor the patient during treatment and make notes of any changes in breathing, color, or how the patient feels. You may need to make minor adjustments during the treatment, and when completed you will update your notes and answer any follow-up questions the patient has.

Assisting a patient with their treatment could take a few minutes, or a few hours. You may have to see the same patient once for treatment, or regularly over the course over a few days or weeks. Occasionally you may be called upon to assist during emergency treatment in a critical care setting, where a patient may be suffering from an asthma attack, pneumonia, or smoke inhalation. It is important that during these critical times you can react quickly, follow instructions, and stay focused as a person’s life may depend on it.

At the end of the day you will have to complete and submit charts for all the patients you treated during the day. This will help the respiratory therapist assess whether the treatment is working properly so they can make adjustments as necessary. You may meet face-to-face with the therapist, or just exchange notes. Then it’s time to go home, and come back to repeat the task the next day, albeit with new patients and new scenarios.

If you are working as a respiratory therapy technician in a hospital or other urgent care center then you may be periodically on call overnight and on weekends. In these cases you may be called in to assist with emergency cases, and you have to be ready to respond.

As you can see, becoming a respiratory therapy technician is a great job if you like working with people and helping others improve their lives. In this career you can make a real difference every single day. Perhaps becoming a respiratory therapy technician is the right job for you, in which case why not get started today?

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