A healthcare discipline specializing in the production of optimal cardiopulmonary function and health.
Respiratory therapists apply scientific principles to prevent, identify, and treat acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. Knowledge of the scientific principles, underlying cardiopulmonary physiology, and pathophysiology, as well as biomedical engineering and technology, enable the respiratory therapist to effectively assess, educate, and treat patients.
As a healthcare profession, respiratory therapy is practiced under medical direction across the healthcare continuum. Respiratory therapy is specifically focused on the assessment, treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation, education, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system, as well as on the prevention of the development of these deficiencies. Critical thinking, patient and environment assessment skills, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines enable respiratory therapists to develop and implement effective care plans, therapist-driven protocols, disease-based clinical pathways, and disease management programs.
A consortium between the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and Buckeye Hills Career Center has been established as a means to (a) educate and train individuals in the science of Respiratory Care, (b) to develop in those individuals an understanding of the role of a Respiratory Care Practitioner as an integral part of the healthcare team, and (c) to produce Respiratory Care Practitioners who will serve the community with both competent and technological skills with a caring and ethical behavior.