Utilizing sophisticated biomedical equipment, respiratory therapists provide diagnostic testing, treatment, and preventive care to patients with cardiopulmonary disorders under the direct or indirect supervision of a physician. Upon completion of this degree, students are eligible to take the registry examination in respiratory care administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care.
Respiratory therapists perform diagnostic procedures such as obtaining and analyzing blood gas samples, measuring lung function values and studying sleep patterns. These procedures are vital in assessing the patient's overall lung health, extent of disease progression and the development and implementation of a medical care plan. Respiratory therapists provide many direct-care therapy modalities including the administration of oxygen, inhaled medications, initiation and management of invasive and noninvasive mechanical ventilation, chest percussion, airway clearance and artificial airway placement and maintenance. Respiratory Therapists also provide valuable clinical educational information on smoking cessation, home administration of medications and therapies and maintenance of personal respiratory therapy equipment.