Respiratory Therapist versus RN

  1. I'm undecided whether to pursue RT or RN...anybody have any advice? Both fields seem to have their plusses and minuses!
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  2. 21 Comments

  3. by   colleen10
    My lab partner for A&PII this semester is an RT and is now in school to become an RN.

    She said she likes her current job as an RT, been doing it for 8 years but she is a little tired of it now; same old, same old. She feels that by becoming an RN she will have more opportunities in different fields of medicine compared to an RT.
  4. by   James Huffman
    What do you want to do? That's the most important question. From my perspective, nursing offers a broader field of endeavor, more options, and more opportunities to work independently, and do solo practice.

    Look at both fields. I don't know what your background is, but if you have no health care experience, find out if you can follow as nurse and an RT around -- perhaps a day for each. This may give you some ideas as to what each field does, and which you might like to do. Obviously, there's some overlap in what each does, but both have discreet practice areas, so some time spent observing might help you decide.

    But ultimately, the answer comes down to you. Ask yourself what you want to do, where you want to work, how you would like to work -- those sort of questions. And trust your gut instinct. Your mind will put together answers even when you haven't consciously decided. Trust those answers. And good luck!

    Jim Huffman, RN

    www.NetworkforNurses.com
  5. by   MsBruiser
    I'm familiar with both jobs - just trying to sort through options. RT seems like a quicker path - which is good for a career changer. Also - work seems very interesting, with flexibility of RN schedule if I want to continue schooling, etc.
  6. by   fergus51
    I would go straight for the RN. There is just so much more variety and job opportunities as a nurse.
  7. by   OKNURSE
    there really is no comparison between being a nurse or a respiratory therapist, other than they are both involved in health care. The primary distinction between the 2 isw that if youi were to pursue respiratory therapy, you would only be taking care of pulmonary patients, whereas, if you were to become a nurse, there is a huge spectrum of specialty areas that you could go into. Stopnik stated that RT would be a quicker path. This is not actually the case if your desire was to become a registered respiratory therapist. My husband is a B.S. R.R. T. and he went to school much longer than one would in a nursing program.
  8. by   Rhoresmith
    I was a RT for 2 yrs and it was not very satisfing to me You are involved in all the codes and you take care of ventilator patients but , it just wasn't what I wanted I always had that little voice saying you wanted to be a nurse. I think the best advise came from above saying try to "shadow " each one and see which you like better and check the pay and advancment opps because we all know that money is important to. Also see if RT has as many job opps as Nursing does Good Luck let us know what you decide


    Rhonda
  9. by   RNGUY
    Quote from Stopnik
    I'm undecided whether to pursue RT or RN...anybody have any advice? Both fields seem to have their plusses and minuses!
    Don't become a RT. The RTs are too lazy and they hate being paged to take care of patients that are in distress. They like to arrive late to work and leave home early. They also like to call in when there is an big sports game on TV. They are useless and I just can't wait till thier job is handed over to nursing. And I'm a RT and a RN. I was so disgusted with the RT field. The majority of the RTs do not give a damn about their jobs. Become a nurse and you won't regret it.
    RNGUY
  10. by   ERNurse752
    I know a lot of really good RTs, and a lot of really good RNs.

    Like others have said, it depends on if your interests lie mainly with pts with pulmonary illnesses/ventilators/other airway assistance devices, or pts with a broader spectrum of illnesses.

    Or, tongue in cheek, which do you hate more...poop or sputum...and let that guide you.
  11. by   Dixielee
    One look at the title of this thread and I thought you were talking about my divorce! My ex was an RT and I am an RN, so.....

    Seriously though, I think the RN will offer so much more flexibility and ultimate job satisfaction. I have had this same conversation with RT's, med techs, and x-ray techs who all agree that the job gets pretty boring after a few years and if you need a change, you can not always find one. Nursing offers infinate possibilities for variety. General pay rates may be comparable, but if you are in it for the long haul and most of us are, you need to be able to find some variety and relief from burnout. Nursing is the way to go.
  12. by   UM Review RN

    Don't become a RT. The RTs are too lazy and they hate being paged to take care of patients that are in distress. They like to arrive late to work and leave home early. They also like to call in when there is an big sports game on TV. They are useless and I just can't wait till thier job is handed over to nursing. And I'm a RT and a RN. I was so disgusted with the RT field. The majority of the RTs do not give a damn about their jobs. Become a nurse and you won't regret it.
    RNGUY
    You are joking, right?

    Because our RTs are awesome. They'll come within 3 minutes from anywhere in the building unless in a Code or with a pede, and they'll still be considerate enough to tell us when they can get there. Whether it's an emergency, or an assessment based on someone not looking like they're breathing well, we feel free to call our RTs and they just jump right in and help. We work together to get air-hungry patients on a vent or up to the unit, or whatever they might need. They have stat blood gasses back in less than 5 minutes, and they have such a great attitude about teaching us things.

    I really can't say enough nice things about our Respiratory folks. I really believe that they're quite a large part of the reason that most of our Codes (and near-Code-interventions) are successful.
  13. by   lee1
    Also be aware that NURSING GAVE this job TO RTs. This position did not exist 30 years ago. Nursing has been giving away bits and pieces for decades now. Think about the dietician also.
    Anyway if you did not have these people think HOW would you be able to get your job done now which most have great difficulty juggling as it is. Of course, that is for the most part related to ratios.
  14. by   pricklypear
    RNGUY is wrong to generalize about RTs. I work with some really great ones. I don't know what I'd do without some of them!!

    I've also worked with some really bad ones. But then again, I've worked with plenty of bad nurses, too!!

    I think variety, as has been said before, should be what to think about in making your decision. I'm really not sure what other things are out there for RTs. I've only seen them in the hospital setting, It would be worth researching before you make your decision.

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