General Job Description: A respiratory therapist and respiratory therapy student utilizes the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention, remediation, research, and rehabilitation of acute or chronic cardiopulmonary dysfunction. They frequently obtain and review data to evaluate the cardiopulmonary status of patients, establish a patient care plan and determine the appropriateness of the prescribed therapy. Therapists and respiratory therapy students initiate, conduct, and modify prescribed therapeutic and diagnostic procedures such as administering medical gases, humidification and aerosols, aerosol medications, postural drainage, bronchopulmonary hygiene, cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Additionally, they provide support services to mechanically ventilated patients; maintain artificial and natural airways; perform pulmonary function testing, hemodynamic monitoring and other physiologic monitoring and collect specimens of blood and other materials for analysis. Therapists and respiratory therapy students document necessary information in the patient’s medical record and communicate that information to other members of the health care team. They obtain, assemble and calibrate equipment. Therapists and respiratory therapy students use problem solving to identify and correct malfunctions of respiratory care equipment. They require appropriate interpersonal skills to work productively with patients, families, staff and co-workers and must at all times maintain patient confidentiality and uphold the ethical standards of the profession.
Based on the description above, all applicants and current students enrolled in the Respiratory Therapy Program at Muskegon Community College must be able to perform the following specific and essential functions with or without reasonable accommodation:
Hearing: Able to hear and understand patients and staff; assess and monitor patient or equipment sounds.
- Communicate and interact with patients, staff and families from a variety of cultural backgrounds.
- Follow verbal instructions.
- Use a stethoscope to hear heart and breath sounds.
- Detect and discriminate between sounds of normal conversation.
- Hear percussion sounds during patient assessment.
- Hear equipment alarms.
- Support and transfer patients safely from bed to wheelchair, and modify patient position in bed.
- Move in and out of treatment areas.
- Respond to emergency situations in a timely manner.
- Reach equipment and parts of patient’s body.
- Reach above shoulder height to manipulate equipment.
- Reach below waist level to manipulate equipment.
- Able to move quickly from place to place to perform patient care.
- Read written instruction/orders.
- Read fine print, monitors, and gauges.
- Differentiate analyze color/character of sputum and other specimen.
- Chart (write) procedures and observations legibly in a permanent medical record.
- Ability to see and discriminate between a variety of visual alarms for different pieces of equipment.
- Ability to observe patient appearance, posture and other outward physical signs that would indicate patient well-being.
Motor Skills: Be able to perform fine and gross motor skills sufficient to handle equipment and provide safe and effective patient care.
- Assemble, operate and manipulate equipment.
- Prepare blood collection syringes; draw venous and arterial blood samples.
- Manipulate a syringe and needle to prepare medications.
- Palpate pulses (arteries) for puncture.
- Administer aerosols, suction patients, and adjust pressure gauges.
- Lift and transport oxygen cylinders; attach regulators; move in and out of treatment areas.
- Push/pull hospital beds; transport patients.
- Lift and move patients safely.
- Perform airway management.
- Perform chest compressions during CPR. Manually ventilate a patient for at least 30 minutes during resuscitation.
- Ability to exert 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally, and/or 10 to 25 pounds of force frequently.