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2020 Nursing Page Update

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Is a Career in Respiratory Care Right For You?

Nursing and health profession students stand around a manikin during a clinical lesson

Great respiratory therapists have these traits in common.

 

If you’re thinking about a career in respiratory care, chances are you already have an interest in helping people — and that’s a great place to start! Respiratory therapists (RTs) and other health professionals in this field enjoy rewarding careers, and make a difference in the lives of patients ranging from newborns to seniors, from emergency cases to chronic conditions. It’s a tough job, but for the right person, it’s also extremely fulfilling.

So how do you know if you’re cut out to work in respiratory care? Here are the top 10 traits we see in successful, satisfied respiratory care professionals. 

They think like a scientist. 

Like any healthcare major, respiratory care degree programs require a course load heavy in areas like biology, chemistry, physiology, and other sciences. To be a successful respiratory care major, you’ll want to perform well in those areas. 

They’re relationship-builders.

Respiratory therapists work regularly with patients, doctors, nurses, and other health professionals. It’s important that you’re able to quickly establish good relationships with both the people in your care and your colleagues. 

They believe in the value of good service. 

The best respiratory care professionals appreciate that their work directly affects their patients’ quality of life — and they care deeply about providing quality, compassionate service. 

They like working with their hands. 

Respiratory care requires the use of medical equipment, as well as personal interaction with patients. RTs must demonstrate a high degree of manual dexterity, as they work with their hands every day. 

They “sweat the small stuff.” 

In healthcare, mistakes can be disastrous. It’s important that respiratory therapists pay attention to detail and conduct careful, accurate work.  

They work well under pressure. 

It’s stressful to have someone’s life in your hands — so respiratory care professionals need to be able to stay cool in a crisis. At some point in your career, it’s likely you’ll encounter a patient on a ventilator, or even in cardiac arrest. They’ll be depending on you to do your job well in a high-pressure environment. 

They have integrity. 

As healthcare providers, it is essential that anyone working in respiratory care exhibits high levels of professionalism, honesty, and reliability. Strong ethics are a guiding force in all health professions.

They’re curious. 

Medical knowledge is constantly growing as new research and treatments emerge. Professionals in healthcare fields must be interested in learning throughout their careers. Your respiratory care education can’t stop when you finish your college degree, so it’s important that you enjoy learning about the subject.

They care. 

Above all, the best respiratory care professionals care about their patients. They value the people they’re treating, and enjoy getting to know them. They’re able to provide a sense of comfort for people who aren’t feeling well, and they inspire confidence. Patients trust them to do the right thing. 

How do you get started in respiratory therapy?

If you are considering a career in respiratory care, the best place to start is a reputable, accredited bachelor’s degree program like the BS in Respiratory Care at York College of Pennsylvania. Look for a program that features both in-class education and clinical training in a professional healthcare setting.

Request more information about the Respiratory Care program at York College.

New to YCP? Let us help you find your path.
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