In addition, they perform a variety of essential duties while on the job. And what better way to showcase these duties than through cartoon illustrations?
Here are a few respiratory therapist cartoons that accurately depict some of the important job duties RT’s perform while at work:
1. Assessing Patients for Lung Disease
Respiratory therapists are also responsible for administering breathing treatments to patients with lung disorders. This involves the use of a nebulizer, which is a device that breaks up medication into tiny liquid particles that can be inhaled into the lungs.
3. Managing Patients on the Mechanical Ventilator
Mechanical ventilation is a life-saving intervention for patients who are unable to breathe on their own. It involves the use of a machine that uses positive pressure to help patients breathe.
Respiratory therapists are responsible for managing the care of patients on mechanical ventilation. This includes ensuring that the machine is functioning properly, monitoring the patient’s progress, and making adjustments to the ventilator settings as the patient’s condition changes.
4. Performing Auscultation and Listening to Lung Sounds
Auscultation is the process of listening to internal sounds within the body using a stethoscope. This is an effective way to learn a lot about a patient’s condition.
Respiratory therapists perform auscultation to listen for abnormal lung sounds, such as wheezing or crackles. This helps them to make an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
5. Assessing a Patient’s Chest X-Ray
Chest x-rays are a common diagnostic test used to assess patients with lung disorders. They can provide a lot of information about the structure and function of the patient’s thoracic region.
Respiratory therapists are responsible for assessing chest x-rays. This includes looking for any abnormalities, such as pneumonia, atelectasis, or air in the pleural space (i.e., pneumothorax).
6. Providing Care for Infants and Neonates
Respiratory therapists are well-known for treating adult patients with breathing difficulties. However, they also provide care for infants and neonates (i.e., newborn babies).
This includes providing respiratory support, such as administering oxygen and performing suctioning. They also provide education to parents on how to properly care for their infant’s respiratory needs.
7. Administering Oxygen Therapy
Oxygen is a fundamental element of life, and it is essential for the proper functioning of the body’s cells. When a patient has an oxygen deficiency, it can lead to serious health consequences.
Oxygen therapy is a treatment that involves the administration of supplemental oxygen to patients with low oxygen levels in their blood. Respiratory therapists are responsible for administering oxygen therapy to patients to treat or prevent hypoxemia.
8. Performing Pulmonary Functions Testing (PFT)
Pulmonary function tests (PFTs) are special diagnostic tests used to assess the condition of the lungs. They can provide valuable information about a patient’s lung function and help to identify any abnormalities.
Respiratory therapists are responsible for performing PFTs. This includes conducting the test, interpreting the results, and communicating the findings to the patient’s physician.
9. Performing CPR and Life Support
Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving intervention used when a patient enters cardiac or respiratory arrest. It’s an emergency procedure that requires quick action and trained personnel.
Respiratory therapists are important members of the resuscitation team and are responsible for performing CPR and other life-saving measures, such as chest compressions, rescue breaths, and assisting with the insertion of an endotracheal tube.
10. Performing Electrocardiogram (EKG) Tests
An electrocardiogram (EKG) is a diagnostic test used to assess the electrical activity of the heart. It can provide valuable information about a patient’s cardiac function and help identify abnormal heart rhythms.
Respiratory therapists are often responsible for performing EKG tests. This includes attaching the patient to the EKG machine, interpreting the results, and communicating the findings to the patient’s physician.
11. Performing Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation
Cardiopulmonary rehabilitation is the therapeutic process of helping patients recover from cardiac or pulmonary disorders. It’s an important part of the respiratory therapist’s job to help patients regain their strength and improve their quality of life.
This includes conducting pulmonary tests, providing education on disease management, and developing individualized exercise programs.
12. Educating Patients on Smoking Cessation
Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. It’s estimated that it kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.
Respiratory therapists play an important role in educating patients on the dangers of smoking and helping them to quit. This includes providing counseling and support, as well as referrals to smoking cessation programs.
13. Working With Other Members of the Medical Team
Respiratory therapists work closely with other members of the medical team, such as physicians, nurses, radiology technicians, physical therapists, and more.
They collaborate to provide the best possible care for patients in need. This includes discussing patient cases, making treatment decisions, and coordinating care.
Respiratory therapists also serve as a resource for other members of the medical team, providing education and guidance on respiratory care.
Respiratory therapists play a vital role in the health care system. They are responsible for providing life-saving care to patients with respiratory disorders.
While the job duties of a respiratory therapist can be challenging, they are also very rewarding. Helping patients to breathe easier and improve their quality of life is a truly rewarding experience.
Hopefully, these respiratory therapist cartoons have given you a better understanding of what respiratory therapists do. However, these are only a few of the many duties that respiratory therapists perform on the job.
If you’re interested in learning more about this essential career, be sure to check out our other guides on a respiratory therapist’s job duties and the requirements for becoming an RT. Thanks for reading, and, as always, breathe easy my friend.
John Landry is a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, and has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He enjoys using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.
- “Health Effects of Cigarette Smoking.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 19 Aug. 2022, www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/index.htm./li>
- Rickards, Tracey, and Emily Kitts. “The Roles, They Are a Changing: Respiratory Therapists as Part of the Multidisciplinary, Community, Primary Health Care Team.” National Library of Medicine, 2018, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6516139.