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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A high school student interviews me

Recently I was interviewed by a high school student who was curious to learn about the profession of respiratory therapy.  The following is that interview.
In my seminar class, we are doing a project on careers we are interested in. I would like to find out more about your career. May you take some time to answer a couple of questions that I have?

1.   How much education did you need to obtain your career?  The respiratory therapy program is a two year program.  You'll obtain an associate's degree at the end of two years and then you will have to take a series of three tests.  At this time you will become a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT).  

2. Why did you choose this career?  I had asthma really bad as a kid and had many experiences with nurses and respiratory therapists.  So I thought it would be neat to become a respiratory therapist so I could help other people with breathing trouble.  I figured as an asthmatic I'd be able to empathize with asthma, COPD and other people with breathing trouble.  

n 3. What classes are necessary to take in high school in preparation?for this career?  Rather than taking particular classes, I think what's important for you to do in high school is to learn how to discipline yourself to do good in school and get good grades.  From my experience the people who fail this program are those who lack discipline.  Other than that, some basic classes you can take in high school that will help you get through this program are basic physics, chemistry, math, and any health related classes.  Another thing I'd recommend is participating in a shadow program if your school offers such a thing.  Where I live the local high school has a healthcare shadow program where you participate in a class to learn the basics of healthcare, and then you shadow the various medical professionals in the hospital such as respiratory therapy, nursing, x-ray techs, lab techs, pharmacy, etc.  Any of the above will prepare you for RT School.

n 4. What are your responsibilities in your career?n  The scope of our job varies from day to day and this is part of what makes the job interesting.  Likewise, responsibilities also vary depending on where you work.  I work for a small town hospital, so my main job is helping patients with breathing problems (like asthmatics, COPD patients and pneumonia patients) breathe better.  We give breathing treatments.  We educate them about their disease and how they can stay healthy.  We teach people how to quit smoking.  We perform various tests such as EKGsPFTs, and stress testing.  We are part of the Code Blue team whereby if someone stops breathing we are among the first called to help the patient.  We do CPR.  We manage the airway.  We manage ventilators. We do some invasive procedures such as we draw ABGs, and we suction airways if needed.  We take care of mainly adults, yet we also have to keep up our skills so we can help pediatrics and newborns too.  

 5. What do you like most about it?n To put it simply, I love getting to know people.  I love sitting with my patients and having an intelligent discussion  I love educating them about how they can stay healthy.  I love sharing my own experiences so my patients don't feel they are alone.  I love doing invasive procedures like ABGs and suctioning and making these normally unpleasant procedures as simple and easy as possible.  I like explaining complicating things to patients and making them simple for the patient to understand.  I love my coworkers, and working as part of the doctor-nurse-respiratory therapist team to help patients. I also love a good challenge. I love to use my experience and education to help people.  Mainly, I just love working with people.  I love helping people.

6. If you could change anything about your career what would it be?    I would like to have more autonomy as a respiratory therapist. I would like more protocols.  Protocols would allow me to do what I think is best for the patient without having to wait for a doctor's order. 

Thank you so much for your time and for answering my questions. Thanks for allowing me to answer your questions.  If you have further questions you can click here, or you can email me.  Rick Frea 

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