$36.81 to $52.73 per hour
Health Sciences Association of Alberta (HSAA)
Respiratory therapy diploma
Respiratory therapists (also known as RTs) are health care professionals who provide a wide range of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures to patients requiring basic and complex cardiopulmonary services. They participate in the planning, implementation and evaluation of respiratory services at Alberta Health Services. Respiratory therapists may educate patients, families, students and other health care workers regarding cardiopulmonary disease treatment and management.
Respiratory therapists assess the cardio-respiratory systems of patients, perform and interpret diagnostic breathing and blood tests, and develop and implement respiratory therapy care plans for clients. They also monitor and evaluate patient progress. Some respiratory therapists provide services to the general patient population, while others specialize in a specific area such as neonatal, palliative, rehabilitation, pulmonary function or sleep labs.
Part of a respiratory therapist’s role includes operating, maintaining and inspecting respiratory therapy equipment such as ventilators, anaesthetic machines, oxygen delivery devices and other equipment. They may also provide leadership and work guidance to students and other health care workers.
Respiratory therapists work in a variety of health care settings including hospitals, urgent care centres, clinics, rehabilitation facilities, schools and within clients’ homes. Although they may work with minimal supervision and independently with patients, respiratory therapists are as part of an interprofessional team that can include other therapists, technologists, physicians and nurses, as well as staff on inpatient units.
Respiratory therapists may work full-time or part-time hours or on a call-in (casual) basis. They can apply for positions that are permanent, temporary or casual depending on department and facility needs. Shift schedules may include a combination of day, evening, night and weekend shifts, as well as on-call duty.
Respiratory therapists are typically on their feet during their shifts and may be required to bend, reach and lift patients and equipment during the course of their work. Respiratory therapists can be exposed to blood, body fluids, needle sticks and other safety risks. As a result, they practise safe work procedures at all times to ensure the safety of patients, themselves and co-workers. At times, they may work in challenging and stressful circumstances, such as in an emergency situation.