My Education: Community College of Rhode Island (Warwick, RI)
My Prior Experience: I worked as a secretary at a Rhode Island hospital.
My Company: I work for a hospital.
Job/Career Overview: My primary responsibility is to take care of patients who have breathing problems -- asthma, cystic fibrosis and other breathing diseases -- and patients who require breathing treatment and breathing machines. I work with patients in the pediatrics, trauma, surgical and psych wards. There is a wide range of reasons why patients would need a respiratory therapist.
Resolving a problem could take as little as a few minutes or as much as a day of ventilatory support.
Being a respiratory therapist has its risks. Patients are afflicted with the flu, hepatitis and HIV. But while there is a lot of risk, there are lots of benefits to the job -- helping a little baby breath again or just watching a sick patient turn around with the interventions you provide. It is a very rewarding job and I love it. There is also another perk, THE PAY!!! There is always a chance for overtime and a chance for a slower-paced job. I love the excitement of the hospital.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best parts of the job are watching people get better, the pay and the flexible schedule. The worst part of the job is working nights, weekends and holidays. But you get compensation for working those horrible shifts and the bump in pay makes it all worth it. There is always an opportunity to learn. No one patient is the same as the next. All come in with interesting stories. There is a definite reward in meeting new people and knowing how you have helped them.
The schooling is great. They offer a lot of different times to take the courses. You can start with an associate's degree and work your way up through the master's program. But you don't need a master's to work in the field. You can work in the field with an associate's degree. There is plenty of room for promotion within the field. You can stay as a worker or work up to a department director. And there are plenty of things to do, such as sleep studies and pulmonary function testing, which do not require you to work nights or weekends or holidays.