Students in an undergraduate respiratory therapy program learn to evaluate patients and take their histories, as well as identify and select the correct respiratory therapy procedures. Courses on cardiopulmonary pathophysiology, ventilation management and monitoring, polysomnography and airway management may be taken. Undergraduate respiratory therapy programs include multiple clinical experiences in a hospital or similar setting. Graduate students often complete advanced clinical coursework along with additional coursework in business and research.
Licensure is required unless one practices respiratory therapy in Alaska, and the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) offers optional certifications that some employers prefer. These include the Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT) and the Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credentials. The following topics can be found in your classes:
- Airway management
- Critical care
- Medical terminology
- Infection control
- Mock clinics
List of Courses
Principles of Respiratory Therapy Course
This introductory respiratory therapy class provides basic information students need to succeed in respiratory therapy careers. They learn the history of the field and begin studying medical terminology that they will use later in courses, labs and clinics. Students observe healthcare professionals providing basic care and get involved by taking patient histories.
Patient Evaluation Course
Patient evaluation courses teach students how to take more advanced patient histories, conduct basic exams and perform chest examinations. In the clinical portion of this respiratory therapy class, candidates learn the appropriate questions to ask when determining causes of pain. The lecture portion of the class familiarizes students with basic respiratory diseases and their respective treatment methods.
Trends in Respiratory Therapy Course
This respiratory therapy course examines ways in which professionals meet the needs of critical care and other patients. The lab portion involves a mock clinic setup that allows students to choose which method of care is best for a given illness or situation. Professors help students explore current and past trends in the field.
Therapeutic and Diagnostic Procedures Course
Candidates gain familiarity with basic respiratory therapy procedures, such as administering gas, providing oxygen therapy, controlling infection and managing airways. These procedures are used in labs with simulated patients who respond to treatments as real patients would. Students practice each of the available therapies, identifying when to use them, the correct way to use them and the purpose of each.
Clinical Practice in Respiratory Therapy
Every respiratory therapy program requires that students gain experience working with real patients. Through clinical practice, students have the opportunity to put their knowledge to use under the supervision of faculty and healthcare professionals. Some schools require that candidates take this course throughout the program, at different levels of capability, while others only require clinical practice at the end of the program. Candidates take patient histories, diagnose problems and choose appropriate therapy treatments.