Job Title: Respiratory Therapist
Type of Company: I work for a very busy hospital in the city of Boston.
Education: Bunker Hill Community College
Previous Experience: I have worked in many hospitals over the past several years as a unit secretary.
Job Tasks: i assist with the intubation process. This means that I help to establish an airway for unresponsive patients who come to the hospital, no matter what condition they are in. This is done by inserting a tube through their mouth, just past the vocal chords. Once this is done, it is my responsibility to connect the patient to a ventilator and keep his airway open until he's able to breathe on his own. During this process, the main focus is on making sure that the patient has an adequate amount of gas exchange: determining, in short, if there is too much or too little oxygen and/or CO2 consumption. Too much of one or too little of the other can lead to major complications. There are many ways to determine this.
We also do pulmonary function testing to determine how well-conditioned people's lungs are and sleep studies for people with sleep apnea and other breathing disorders. The results of these studies determine if a patient needs a machine with a mask to continuously (or not) deliver pressure to allow for continuous breathing. We educate people with asthma and instruct them on how to use the medications associated with it.
A respiratory therapist can also work with newborns. This is nice because you can celebrate many birthdays! You may often be required to be in the delivery room if it is a high risk delivery because our job is all about establishing and maintaining airways.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is that I help people who really need it.
The worst part is that, despite all my efforts, the outcome may be sad.
Job Tips: You really have to have a drive to help people. There are a lot of traumas. "Shadow" someone if you are'nt certain. This means ask someone at a hospital if you can follow them around for a day to see what they do.
Additional Thoughts: The biggest benefit is when you are watching one of your patient's being discharged.
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