Respiratory Therapy or Nursing?

  1. Hi,

    Because of waiting to get into a nursing program, I can't help but think of other career fields within healthcare. I thought I'd post it here to get some opinions from everybody.

    In terms of job availability, do RT new grads find plenty of opportunities as well as Nursing new grads? It seems that they Nursing gets too much attention than other healthcare fields.

    In terms of work schedule flexibility, can they do registry too or perhaps per diem? Are there traveling RTs like nurses?

    In terms of work routine, just how hard is it for them?

    In terms of career advancement, what is there to look forward to? Can they work in the Insurance industry, legal industry, own a "respiratory-related" business, private practitioners, etc.?

    I appreciate your comments. Thank you.
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   airis
    Well, Respiratory therapist can work as registry and per diem.
    There is always in need of RT in hospitals, sleep centers, pharmaceuticals, schools and subacutes. As for advancement its not a lot really. You can only get your Bachelor in RT and thats it. Since RT is already a specialty theres no more advancement unless you want to became a BSRT. As for nurses theres always advancement and you can always specialize in any areas. You can also work in so many fields like schools, offices, prison, county jobs, hospitals, nursing homes, urgent care, amusement park etc.

    For the job RN have so much work compare to RT. You have to see the chart its like twice the size of a bible. Its thick and they have so many documentation to do. They do more patient care and they interact more with the doctors and patients family. They get the complaints!!! At the hospital where I work ( kaiser ) the RNs are always stress while RT just sit back and relax but when theres a code blue thats when we really get to do work! I am an RT and I love it. I get to be in different areas in the hospital everyday I dont get stucked on one floor. I get to go to ER, L&D ( labor and delivery), peds, NICU, ICU, CCU, DOU, med surg and of course respiratory department where we take out patients for Pulmonary test. RT also deals with a lot of math and physics and no poops hehehe. The pay for RT where I work is $30.00 an hr and for RN is $32.00. They also have RT registry at kaiser and they pay them $550 per 8 hr shift. Even if u stay only 7 hr or 6 u get paid $550. I dont like to work my butt off. I do like to work but not to the point where i get so stressed. Thats why I picked RT you get to sit down and you also get to work.

    It really depends what you like and how stress do you want to be hehe.
  4. by   Sheri257
    I'm sure there are some exceptions but, generally, RT's make a lot less than RN's in California ... about $15K less a year on average, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes_ca.htm#b29-0000

    I personally think it's because RT's aren't unionized like RN's are in this state. Just at one local hospital in my area, the union negotiated pay raises where new grad RN's now make more than veteran RT's.

    The RT's had a chance to go union at that same facility a couple of years ago but, they voted against it ... believing management's promises that they would get a pay raise. Needless to say, management renigged. My guess is that this sort of thing has happened elsewhere since the pay difference is substantial.

    I also like the fact that nursing has so many specialities. Now that I've finally graduated, I'm constantly amazed at the number of things I can do with this degree.

    I know it's frustrating but ... I must say it was worth the wait and, with a $15K annual pay differential on average, will probably pay off in the end.

    :typing
    Last edit by Sheri257 on Mar 30, '07
  5. by   airis
    FYI At kaiser RTS are in the union and RTs get paid 30/hr while RNs MEdsurg get paid 32/hr but if you are an ICU RN you get paid 35-40/hr depending on your experience. I am from California also. But the work you do as an RN its not worth the pay because everyone knows RN is underpaid.
  6. by   christymwinn
    i know some people who were RT's and then went back for their RN. I actually work with an intensivist (ICU Dr.) who was RT, then RN, then Dr.!!

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