The question has been brought up before, and it will be brought up again, so I thought I'd address it today on this blog: Is the job of respiratory therapy a good career.
This is not an easy question to answer, and every person you ask will probably have a different answer. I suppose you could answer it this way: with a joke.
What does a newborn baby have in common with an elderly lady? The answer: Depends.
It depends. It depends on a lot of things. It depends on what your goals are in life. It depends on your location. It depends on the institution you work for. It depends on who you work with. It depends on the doctors where you work. It depends on you.
I personally think this "profession" would make a great stepping stone for anyone seeking to be a doctor or physician's assistant, or medical lawyer, or anything like that. You work as an RT for a few years and you will know the human body, and you will understand patients, and you will learn about the politics of hospital life.
One also has to consider the pay of RT is not that great, and the prospects of moving up the ladder are not great either. However, if you plan on continuing your education, what a better place to get your start.
However, most people who go into this field aren't thinking of it as a stepping stone. It becomes a life long experience for them. That's the case with me and most of the people working for this RT Cave.
Like most of my co-workers I decided to become an RT because I was going about my life and one day had an epiphany like most of us get at some point: I need money. Yep. I was 25 and realized I was on a road to no where. I needed to find a profession that allows me to start working right now.
I thought about being a teacher, but I would have to go through school four years and still pray I found a job. And I more than likely would either have to travel or move. I didn't want to do either. I chose to go to RT school because I RT students can get a job right away at a hospital instead of waiting until after graduation.
Likewise, there are RTs everywhere. This is a very portable job. The pay is not great, but it's at least enough money to make a humble living. Still, my humble pay requires that my wife works if we want to make a decent living. So, I suppose, it's kind of a disappointing career if you look at it that way.
It's a good job in that I get to work with people and really make a difference in their lives. It's fun writing protocols and making decisions that help advance the profession. Yet, there does seem to be a lack of respect for the RT profession at many institutions, particularly small town hospitals.
This job can be frustrating in that regard. It can be frustrating when you have all this knowledge and all this experience, and the patient is right in front of you and you know exactly what to do to help the patient, but your hospital policy doesn't allow for you to do anything.
Still, this is not the same at every hospital. As I wrote in my last post, if you want to use your wisdom, if you really want to use your brain, you should seek out an institution that has a lot of RT driven protocols.
Is this a good profession. Yes, it's decent. Is it completely satisfactory: I'd have to say it depends. It is a good job. It is very rewarding at times. Yet, like any job, there are the pros and cons.
I guess I would sum this up this way: I would not recommend my son become an RT. Yet at the same time I would not steer him away either if he needed a job. Still, I'd hope he has greater aspirations for his life than to be an RT.
So, is the job of respiratory therapy a good career? It depends on you.