If you are a compassionate, motivated person who is looking to help others, you may be considering your career options in the healthcare industry. Perhaps you want to dive in and jumpstart your career without several years of costly medical school, which makes the Respiratory Therapist path especially appealing. The question is, where do you begin?
Diving into the field of Respiratory Care is the right move for anyone looking to breathe new life into patients’ lives (literally). It is also a smart career choice for those who want to enjoy successful and rewarding work. With just an associate degree as your minimum education level requirement, you can expect to earn about $60,280 per year – the median salary for Respiratory Therapists (RTs) across the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
But aside from your education and certification, what does it take to become a successful RT? Read on as we break down some of the key respiratory therapist skills that employers are seeking today.
Much like many other specialties within the healthcare industry, RTs must possess certain technical and interpersonal skills to excel in their field. With the help of an accredited Respiratory Therapy school, you can hone the following skillset (adding a few additional talking points to your resume!):
- Critical Thinking. On a daily basis, RTs must identify cause-effect relationships in their work, synthesize knowledge, while sequencing information and adapting their decisions based on new information.
- As you work with your patients, you will need to effectively share treatment options and answer any questions they may have. You will also need to listen to the needs and concerns of your patients and colleagues, and offer appropriate feedback to ensure mutual understanding.
- Problem-Solving. Part of being an RT is evaluating patients’ symptoms, consulting with other healthcare professionals, and recommending or administering the appropriate treatments. If you like solving puzzles, you may find problem-solving comes easier to you than others.
- Technical Respiratory Therapist Skills. A great education will prepare you for your work as an RT. On a daily basis, Respiratory Therapists must have the technical skills needed to meet the daily demands of the job. You’ll need to know how to work with medical equipment and supplies. Some of the technical aspects of the job include, but as certainly not limited to:
- Administration of oxygen
- Cardiopulmonary resuscitation
- Management of mechanical ventilators
- Administering drugs to the lungs
- Monitoring cardiopulmonary systems
- Measuring lung function
- Interpersonal Skills. As an RT, you will be interacting with patients and often working as part of a team. You’ll need to be able to follow instructions from a supervising physician and have adequate “bedside manner.”
- Science and Math Skills. It’s simply a must that RTs have a solid understanding of anatomy, physiology, and other sciences, as well as be able to calculate the right dose of a patient’s medicine.
Other important qualities RTs should have to become successful in their career include:
- Compassion for your patients and their families.
- Detail-Orientation. You’ll need to pay close attention to detail to ensure that patients are being tended to in a timely manner, and that their treatments and assessments are made with complete accuracy.
- Patience. You will likely have some patients with special needs who require extra attention and, therefore, longer focus.
- Sensitivity. Just as you need compassion for your patients and their families, you will want to be sensitive to their needs and comfort-levels.
An associate degree in Respiratory Care will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and abilities to position you for a variety of career options and success. Not only will you will learn the technical tricks of the trade – such as how to administer medications in aerosol form to help relieve breathlessness, or how to use ventilators to help patients who cannot breathe on their own – you will also master the aforementioned Respiratory Therapist skills.
If you are interested in jumpstarting your career, and making a difference in the healthcare world, without spending several years digging yourself into a giant pile of debt from medical school, consider pursuing a career in Respiratory Therapy. Learn more about the program offered at Goodwin College by calling 1-800-889-3282 or visiting us online today.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.