In Summary - Respiratory Technician
Respiratory Technicians typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Respiratory Technician
Respiratory physiology technicians perform a wide range of investigations to assist in the diagnosis of respiratory disorders such as asthma. They use technical equipment to measure the functioning and efficiency of patients' breathing systems. Most measurements are now made on automated computerised systems that have replaced the old chart recorder system. Computers now form the mainstay of these systems.
Patients are usually referred as a result of problems such as coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, abnormal chest X-rays and chest pains. Test results provide the doctor with additional information that aids diagnosis and helps to assess patients' likely response to treatment or the probable risks of surgery.
Respiratory physiology technicians administer a range of tests, many of which require the patient to breathe into equipment through a mouthpiece. Measurements are then made from chart readings and meters that measure concentrations of physiological and other gases. Most measurements are taken when the patient is at rest, and some during and after physical exertion.
Many laboratories in Ireland are becoming involved to some degree in sleep assessment, in particular assessing the patient's breathing during sleep.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Monitor patients during treatment and report any unusual reactions to the respiratory therapist.
- Use ventilators or various oxygen devices or aerosol and breathing treatments in the provision of respiratory therapy.
- Work with patients in areas such as the emergency rooms, neonatal or pediatric intensive care, or surgical intensive care, treating conditions such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, asthma, cystic fibrosis, or pneumonia.
- Collect and analyze arterial blood gas samples.
- Read and evaluate physicians' orders and patients' chart information to determine patients' condition and treatment protocols.
- Set equipment controls to regulate the flow of oxygen, gases, mists, or aerosols.
- Assess patients' response to treatments and modify treatments according to protocol if necessary.
- Perform diagnostic procedures to assess the severity of respiratory dysfunction in patients.
- Keep records of patients' therapy, completing all necessary forms.
- Prepare or test devices, such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, aerosol generators, or electrocardiogram (EKG) machines.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Interests - Respiratory Technician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
You will need a kind, sympathetic nature and the ability to reassure anxious patients, who may be very ill. Sometimes patients may find tests difficult or uncomfortable, so you will need to be positive and encouraging.
As test results must always be accurate, you must be careful and efficient, even when working under pressure.
Entry Requirements - Respiratory Technician
Pay & Salary - Respiratory Technician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 33k - 56k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Respiratory Technician
While no shortages exist, demand is evident for dieticians, cardiac technicians and audiologists.
National Skills Bulletin 2018