Saturday, February 07, 2009

A better answer for "What is a Respiratory Therapist?"

In a previous post, I mentioned how I was planning to respond to the "What is a Respiratory Therapist?" question in the future. I've tried my "A Respiratory Therapist assesses and treats cardio-respiratory and associated disorders to maintain or restore breathing." explanation out a few times and things didn't go very well. It doesn't exactly roll off of the tongue and it sounds a bit too legalistic.

I was at the CRTO web site and ran across the following statement, that I'll try using from now on when I get the, "What is a Respiratory Therapist?" question.

"RTs are health care professionals who monitor, evaluate and treat individuals with respiratory and cardio-respiratory disorders." I could even dumb that one down to "RTs treat people with respiratory and cardio-respiratory disorders"


  1. I always tell people that a RT is like a nurse who only deals with the heart and lungs

  2. I'm only willing to go so far, to make it easier for someone to understand. If I wanted to be to be called a nurse, I would be in Nursing School.

    Another similar answer that I heard recently is, "An RT is like a Paramedic in a Hospital". I've got the same problem with that one. If I wanted to be a Paramedic, I would be in Paramedic School. (I almost did that).

    If people don't understand one of explanations, then "I'm going into Health Care" and leave it at that.

  3. I usually say an RT is a specialty which encompasses cardiology, anesthesiology and pulmonary.

  4. This explanation has worked well for me - "Respiratory therapy is medical gases, treatments and ventilator management." Then the reaction is usually "Ohhhh" or "Oh really!"

  5. Diane, I like your answer. Very simple and correct.