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Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory Therapists work with physicians and other health care professionals to diagnose, treat and care for patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders.

The purpose of a Respiratory Therapists is to provide respiratory care services in accordance with the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapy's (C.S.R.T.) standards of practice and clinical practice guidelines and the philosophy and objectives of the Authority to support and enhance patient care through optimized respiratory functions.

The Respiratory Therapist acts as a specialized member of the multi disciplinary health care team that may provide direct care to adult and pediatric patients requiring respiratory treatment or assessment. In addition, the Respiratory Therapist acts as a resource to all other members of the health care team to facilitate the delivery of respiratory care through collaborative practice. The Respiratory Therapist acts as a patient advocate and facilitates communication between the patient, family, physician, specialists and other health care professionals. This will result in a holistic approach to planning, organizing, teaching, and relationship development that will best meet the needs of the patient.

The Respiratory Therapists address the continuing education needs of other health care team members by planning, developing & administering training programs and in services related to respiratory care. These provisions have a direct impact on the quality of services delivered to clients and their families, and on the overall cost of services provided.

Responsibilities of a Respiratory Therapist:

  1. Provide Respiratory Therapy interventions to clients and to assist in the treatment and diagnosis of respiratory related diseases as determined through independent functions, standing physician orders, and policies and procedures.
  2. The Respiratory Therapist facilitates, implements and modifies patient and family education/teaching based on the needs of the patient in relation to respiratory diseases, insufficiencies, failures or other associated problems.
  3. Act as a resource for other members of the health care team with respect to current respiratory care standards to ensure safe and competent practice. Also act as a resource to health care team members, clients and their families in the areas of pulmonary disease and treatment. Promote continuing education within the department.
  4. Assist with the administrative duties and functions of the Respiratory Therapy Unit to ensure adequate functioning of the Respiratory Therapy department.
  5. Monitor the Quality Control and operation of respiratory equipment and ensure that equipment is performing in accordance with acceptable standards.

Common Duties:

  • Respond to emergency situations to provide airway management 24 hours a day.
  • Initiates mechanical ventilation, assesses and monitors respiratory parameters and patient tolerance to mechanical ventilation. Suggests changes in parameters, and monitors weaning parameters to complement medical and nursing care.
  • Perform invasive procedures that are within the scope of respiratory therapy such as bronchoscopy assistance, arterial/venous/capillary and/or umbilical cord blood gas sampling and analysis, endotracheal intubations, arterial line insertion.
  • Perform diagnostic test procedures pertaining to respiratory therapy. This will encompass pulmonary function tests, peak flow measurements, pulse oximetry, sleep apnea testing, CPAP trials. May be trained to perform other tests depending on the requirements of the institution including electroencephalography (EEG) testing, and 12 lead ECG.
  • Review test results for accuracy and communicate findings to the appropriate health care team member.
  • Complete respiratory physical assessment of referred clients including planning/recommending, implementing, administering, and discontinuing respiratory therapeutic interventions. This will encompass assessing and maximizing the delivery of humidity and aerosol therapy, as well as oxygen and/or specialty gas therapy.
  • Administer aerosol pharmaceutical agents to clients in accordance with physician's orders, observe side effects, assess efficacy of treatment and document appropriately.
  • Advocate the dignity and self-respect of patients.
  • Promote the autonomy of patients and help them to express their health needs and values to obtain appropriate information and services.
  • Safeguard the trust of patients that information learned in the context of a professional relationship is shared outside the health care team only with the patient's permission or as legally required.
  • Apply and promote principles of equity and fairness to assist patients in receiving unbiased treatment and a share of health services and resources proportionate to their needs.
  • Act in a manner consistent with their professional responsibilities and standards of practice. Use a holistic approach to facilitate individual learning of patients and their families upon transfer or discharge.
  • Assess the patient for physical needs, their knowledge of their health, respiratory process and learning needs.
  • Develop, revise and evaluate on an ongoing basis, educational resources necessary to support patients.
  • Provide coaching and leadership to peers, students and other members of the health care team to develop skill levels necessary to achieve the standard of care.
  • Collaborate with peers and other members of the health care team to advocate health care environments that are conducive to ethical practice and to the health and well-being of patients and others in the setting.
  • Plan, develop, and routinely present educational sessions on respiratory related topics to health care staff within STHA and regional centers throughout the Western Arctic.
  • Revise and assist with the delivery of certification programs related to respiratory therapy (i.e. Airway suctioning, mechanical ventilation, etc.).
  • Develop and maintain current resource material in the Respiratory Therapy Department to promote current and accurate practice in respiratory care for use by staff and clients.
  • Orientation of new employees to unit specific programs and mandate.
  • Participates in committees, task forces, and research projects as related to Respiratory Therapy. Assist in the development of programs, policies and procedures related to Respiratory Therapy.
  • Assist in the maintenance and/or revision of all policies, procedures, and protocols that govern and complement the Respiratory Therapy program.
  • Ensure capital equipment requests are prepared and submitted on an annual basis.
  • Maintain an inventory - of stock (monitor, evaluate and recommend changes).
  • Collect, compile, and submit departmental statistics according to management information system.
  • Assist with the planning and development of department goals and objectives in collaboration with management and other members of the health care team.
  • Co-ordinate client bookings with physicians, clinics, communities and clients.
  • Maintain the departments filing system. Verify that all respiratory therapy monitoring devices, diagnostic test equipment and mechanical ventilators are properly calibrated and functioning.
  • Participate in quality control program by identifying and trouble shooting problems resolving technical difficulties.
  • Provide technical support to Anesthetists in the operating theaters as required.
  • Monitor vital signs.
  • Conduct diagnostic tests.
  • Perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
  • Administering medical gases and aerosol therapy to manage and control breathing difficulties.