respiratory therapist versus licensed practical nurses (LPN)

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    i need help deciding which school to go into. i recently was in a nursing program and was dropped in second semester after failing twice. do you think it would be wiser to carry on with nursing (i only passed first semester) and try to get my LVN and then bridge to RN.. or would it be wiser to start a new course like respiratory therapist? the prereqs are almost the same, i would have to take high school physics and RT 1 though to get into the respiratory therapist. there are only 2 schools that provide RT school courses around my area, mt sac/elac and also los angeles valley college. all i'm aware of is that RT school doesn't have the same flexiblity as nursing in terms of making a schedule. plus, RT doesn't really have like that upward mobility that nursing does.. because a nurse can become a nurse practioner, midwife, or get a phd etc. nursing seems like a broader job market and it seems there are more jobs for nurses than there are for RTs. yet, RTs have the advantage of not cleaning after people's bowel movements, lifting patients, and not having to care about a pt from head to toe. a nurse seems to do much more while an RT is more specialized to one area. the RT is also paid as much as the nurse. opinions or suggestions?

    i'm very confused. please help!

    PS (other excuses): i also have a minor disability in hearing and a pin in my right arm.. if i twist my arm too much it starts to hurt, which is why i feel a little insecure about being a nurse because i have to lift patients etc. the hearing also interferes with taking orders. i'm also a timid person. i am not assertive enough for pt's to feel safe with me. my professors thought it was an issue... so i don't know how to fix that. please help.
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    Choice is up to you. You are correct about the intense nature of RT school. The one in my area has an intense clinical experience. The program is a two year program; however, I mean two years. No summer break, and intense clinical rotations. In addition, the math and gas laws/physics may be harder.

    Unfortunately, you will have to be very assertive as a RT. This is especially true in airway emergencies and ventilator management. These are complex situations, and you are going to have to take the bull by the horns in these areas.

    Career opportunities are good for RT's and advancement is better than you think. Specialized areas exist for RT's to branch into. These include; pediatrics, neonatal, ECMO, sleep medicine, and cardiorespiratory diagnostics.

    While the RT may not be cleaning poo, have you ever smelled or experienced the pleasure of obtaining nasty purulent infected material from somebody's lung, or have them cough gobs of mucus all over you while you are doing therapy. As a nurse, you may experience this; however, it is an ongoing experience for some RT's.

    Each profession has pros and cons, good luck on your decision.
    nclady31, Erindel RN, NewTexasRN, and 1 other like this.
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    As a Respiratory Therapist and now a RN, I say go for nursing. Much more respect and room for advancement. And Nurse do make more. I have been a RN for 1 1/2 yrs and can say I make more than I did after doing respiratory for 12 years.
    medicmama921 likes this.
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    go for your nursing,many options awaits you in that arena.Many have failed in nursing school including myself,I had to wait a year long to repeat the failed class,ended up graduating a year later,I would do it again if I have to.
    medicmama921 likes this.
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    I will say that you will make more as a RT than a LPN, however you will make more as RN then RT
    medicmama921 likes this.
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    Quote from CRTtoRN
    As a Respiratory Therapist and now a RN, I say go for nursing. Much more respect and room for advancement. And Nurse do make more. I have been a RN for 1 1/2 yrs and can say I make more than I did after doing respiratory for 12 years.
    >
    I started as a new grad RT at $29.51 while new grad RN's started at $30.41. But I'm an RRT not just a CRT. IMO you have the typical old school, burned out RT's point of view. Which, again IMO, is the product of a poor work environment. At the hospital I work at now I fill more of an educator and physician extender role and we're respected as much as any clinical staff. Did you go to respiratory school, or were you a grandfathered OJT? Opportunities are greater now than ever before for RT's.
    >
    To the OP - In all honesty, if you failed out of a nursing program you will find the RT classes extremely difficult.
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    The statement "yet, RTs have the advantage of not cleaning after people's bowel movements, lifting patients, and not having to care about a pt from head to toe." Is offensive. Trust me, that's not all that comes with being a nurse especially as you move up the ladder. Doing the grunt work is a part of the deal, but a small part of it. Honestly, I thought about becoming a RT, but like you said it's just too specialized. You can't really move to a different specialty without getting more education. Yes, I love the fact that you have so much more career choices and mobility in the nursing field. It sounds to me like you want to be a nurse, but you're not confident enough. I think you should do an LPN program first. Do it in baby steps then work your way up to RN.


    It also sounds like failing out of nursing school has hurt your confidence, but I want to let you know that sometimes you have to take the longer and more difficult road to get what you want, but if it's worthwhile then you can become a RN. In my first 2 weeks of the program, one of my instructors doubted me and I still graduated. If I had let that instructor get into my head, I would have never suceeded!

    I wish you all the best of luck!
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    Quote from PageRespiratory!
    >
    I started as a new grad RT at $29.51 while new grad RN's started at $30.41. But I'm an RRT not just a CRT. IMO you have the typical old school, burned out RT's point of view. Which, again IMO, is the product of a poor work environment. At the hospital I work at now I fill more of an educator and physician extender role and we're respected as much as any clinical staff. Did you go to respiratory school, or were you a grandfathered OJT? Opportunities are greater now than ever before for RT's.
    >
    To the OP - In all honesty, if you failed out of a nursing program you will find the RT classes extremely difficult.
    I don't konw how you get from that statement I have old school burned out point of view. I didn't say anything neg and I wouldn't say I was burned out. I went for a career that offered more thats it. And BTW, I still occassionally do work in Resp because it is a job that I do love also. And I dont know where you live, but in KY where I live a new grad RRT would be starting out appprox about 17.00 hour.
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    Quote from CRTtoRN
    I don't konw how you get from that statement I have old school burned out point of view. I didn't say anything neg and I wouldn't say I was burned out. I went for a career that offered more thats it. And BTW, I still occassionally do work in Resp because it is a job that I do love also. And I dont know where you live, but in KY where I live a new grad RRT would be starting out appprox about 17.00 hour.
    >
    Essentially when you said "Much more respect and room for advancement. And Nurse do make more."
    I've often heard that from more than one therapist thats been in a bad workplace, ie: nebjockeys and ventpushers. However at an insulting $17 an hour, I bet some of that rings true. I'm surprised to hear starting pay that low! When I graduated, I lived outter metro NYC. I now live in rural VT and I make just under $30 in the 5+ year category. People sometimes negatively comment that RT's go to nursing school far more often the nurses go to RT school, and its true. I feel there are 2 main reasons; there are over 2 million nurses in this country and about 125,000 RT's making for an incredibly strong nursing lobby. That combined with the logistic ease of obtaining a mid-level credential, makes nursing very attractive to an established qualified practitioner such as a therapist. Additionally, an RN in most settings does makes more money, although in many places that gap has shrunk considerably. Either way holding both credentials is an asset, a good friend I graduated school with got his RN and recently got into anesthesia school. According to him, he was told that his RT experience helped him get in tremendously.
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    That is scary because even just doing the pre requisites can be difficult! Depending on what school you go to, the teachers can be really mean and un- necessarily difficult.


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