The skills needed to be a sensitive, caring and confident respiratory therapist are numerous. As years pass you will gain skills that not only help you in your career, but in your own personal life.
Critical thinking is one of many required skills you perfect over the years as a respiratory therapist. You will calmly and confidently exercise judgment under extremely stressful situations. In the midst of a medical emergency you help to make decisions that will affect your patient’s very outcome for you are one of few that are present when the patient is having the most difficulty. Of course, as a respiratory therapist you work as part of a team and are together in the goal of giving the patient the best care possible.
Too many think that compassion and understanding come naturally to those who are caregivers. Respiratory therapists may be caring people, but compassion and understanding you feel for a patient and their family is truly understood as you grow and attain knowledge through the years seeing illness profoundly affect people.
Patience and control are behaviors that come to you when realize you have to work side-by-side with others under stress. You won’t always like who you work with. You won’t always see eye-to-eye with your peers. Respiratory therapists learn to see beyond all of it when you know there are patients depending on you. You learn to see beyond all of it when you remember why you chose this line of work in the first place, because you want to make a difference in this world by helping others.
Now enough with all the mushy stuff, let’s get down to a few basics respiratory therapists skills that you will need for the job.
Organization: you will become very organized in your work. You will sometimes have to prioritize and get creative to complete all that you are responsible for.
Time management: You become adept at squeezing a lot into a small amount of time. You attain this ability out of necessity to complete all that is expected of you.
Manual dexterity: Respiratory therapists are masters at assembling medical equipment and many times improvising along the way to build what you need to optimize patient care. Your knowledge of biomedical equipment will grow well beyond anything you can now imagine.
Adapt to Change: You will attain the ability to live with ever-changing environments and tools that are needed in your work. State-of-the-art equipment is always breaking ground right outside of your respiratory therapy department door and knocking to come in. Accept it with open arms. It makes you a better respiratory therapist because it will allow you to better care for your patients.
Adviser: Often, other clinicians seek your experience and advice to help deal with situations they themselves have with their patients. Your competence will be appreciated.
Broad Shoulders: Your shoulders will be more broad and strong because you carry great responsibility as you make decisions, use ethical judgment and, follow out sometimes very sensitive physician orders.
Judgment: Your ability to recognize family dynamics of your patients will come to you and will help you use good judgment in facing complicated family situations. As a respiratory therapist, your professionalism will shine through as you handle the most sensitive matters of living and dying.
Independence: You function independently with a wide berth of leeway and this demands vigilant responsibility and ethical behavior.
It’s not just about doing things the right way but more about doing the right things.
As you can see you not only grow as a respiratory therapist but as a person because of the many skills you master at your profession.