A respiratory therapist is a healthcare professional that provides care services in the area of respiration. These professional often deal with patients that experience heart and lung diseases. Respiratory therapists are often involved in respiratory care of patients that are confined in different areas of a hospital such as intensive care and critical care. These professionals are also considered as a member of the life-saving response team as they are immediately needed during handling of emergency cases (Kareus et al., 2007). A respiratory therapist is trained to perform several procedures which may be generally classified as either diagnostic or therapeutic. Diagnostic procedures that a respiratory therapist performs include collection and analysis of specimens such as sputum and exhaled air. These professionals often deal with blood samples wherein they are trained to determine the concentration of specific gases in the blood of a patient.
These essential gases include oxygen and carbon dioxide. These professionals are also trained to be capable of determining the amount of air that a patient may inhale and determine whether a patient has a disorder in his lungs. A respiratory therapist is also capable of performing treatment procedures such as the use of a ventilator that facilitates a patient’s breathing during critical conditions. They are also capable of providing specific medications that will help a patient to breathe easily, as well as medications to may cure any infections that may be present in the pulmonary system of a patient. A respiratory therapist also plays a major role in patients who enter a smoking cessation program as they provide insights on how to successfully quit smoking and find alternative ways of providing relaxing thoughts and actions to the participating patient.
Kareus SA, Kagebein S, Rudnicki SA (2007): The importance of a respiratory therapist in the ALS clinic. Amyotroph. Lateral Scler. 8:1-4.