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Distance Learning & Online Respiratory Therapy Degree Programs

    Respiratory therapy is literally the therapy that is used to help a patient in breathing or in learning to breath appropriately. Typically respiratory therapists will work within hospital settings although they may complete in-home therapy or they may work specifically for home health care service providers. A respiratory therapist must be knowledgeable on both the respiratory system as well as overall medical conditions that may affect a patient's ability to breath or their requirements to have assistance to breath under specific conditions. A respiratory therapist must also be prepared to work directly with the families and caregivers of the patient to help them to understand how to use the equipment or how to assist the patient in emergency situations when breathing becomes difficult.

    Respiratory therapists will complete training in hospital and health care settings as well as taking classes to learn the concepts and theory. Students can expect to take classes in respiration and respiratory medicine and treatment, pharmaceuticals and drug therapies that assist in respiration, clinical practice procedures, therapeutic procedures and general medical courses such as emergency medicine, assessment and evaluation and planning for respiratory therapies and treatments.

    Graduates of a degree in respiratory therapy can expect to work with patients of all ages and all levels of respiratory function. Many graduates are employed within long-term care facilities and nursing homes, while others are employed as home therapists for discharged patients. Some respiratory therapists may also work directly in hospital cardiopulmonary rehabilitation wards, neonatal units and surgical recovery wards. Specialized training is provided for those graduates working in neonatal wards as the requirements of the babies that are struggling to breath are often much different than working with post-surgical adults or children.

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