A respiratory practitioner or respiratory therapist is a health specialist who focuses on diagnosing and treating people who suffer from heart and lung problems.
These health care specialists may work under the guidance of a doctor or nurse practitioner and focus on providing proper airway management to patients who are having difficulty with breathing and may administer drugs or gasses that include oxygen, sedatives, asthmatic gasses, anesthesia medications and a host of other medications and gasses that are designed to improve/stabilize airway and lung functioning.
Respiratory practitioners may operate under a number of different health conditions such as patients who are suffering from a trauma, individuals being treated in intensive care, patients suffering from sleep disorders, asthma patients, individuals suffering from cystic fibrosis, pediatric care patients and neonatal care patients, and may work in a number of settings such as research centers, intensive care units, life support units, emergency rooms, on board aircraft (see flight nurse) and in a variety of other health care settings.
They may also be found working in schools or other educational settings teaching students and individuals about respiratory practice and giving in-depth information on the topic of respiratory problems.
These professionals specialize in all areas of heart, cardiac and lung functioning and are a great asset to medical units that have patients who may be afflicted by breathing problems.
Practitioners are often used to help stabilize a patients breathing and/or provide therapy to patients in order to help them recover from their respiratory ailments.
Some respiratory therapists may also choose to advance their education and focus on a particular field of respiratory management such as:
- Asthma specialist
- Cystic fibrosis
- Cardiovascular surgery
- Intensive care specialist
- Neonatal & pediatric intensive care
- Sleep disorder specialist
- Surface & air transport specialist
- Pulmonary research and science
And a number of other areas related to respiratory research and treatment.