23 Oct National Respiratory Therapy Week is October 25-31, 2015!
Breathing is something most people take for granted. Inhale deeply, fill the lungs to capacity then hold the breath for a second and slowly exhale. Imagine what it would be like if you were not able to complete this simple task. Now think about how it would feel to never quite catch your breath, gasping upon the slightest exertion. A great sense of panic starts to set in not knowing where your next breath is coming from. Anxiety and fear start to take over when breathing is a chore.
Respiratory Therapists (RT) work with people that have cardiopulmonary diseases and disorders making it difficult to breathe. A few examples of such diseases are cystic fibrosis, asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD for short. RT’s provide care to patients that are ventilator dependent or being weaned from ventilator dependency. They administer oxygen, nebulizer treatments and care for patients with tracheostomies.
RT’s teach patients how to conserve their energy and act with economy of motion so they require less breath to do more. They teach patients how to avoid aggravating their condition and how to control their anxiety if such an event should occur. Patient and family education is an important aspect of being a therapist. The ultimate goal is to prepare each patient to return home safely.
RT’s a must have an Associate’s degree at minimum or a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited program. Upon graduation they must pass a two-part test to demonstrate proficiency before being granted the proper credentials. Additional certifications may be earned for specializations such as neonatal care or pediatric care. Approximately 80% of all RT’s work in the hospital setting with the other 20% working in nursing homes and other healthcare settings.
Specialty Hospital of Central Jersey is celebrating Respiratory Therapy month by recognizing those hard working individuals that help others to breathe. Being an RT has been described as one of the toughest jobs you will ever love. Yes, the days are long and filled with hard work but there is no greater feeling than helping others to breathe.