Respiratory Therapist VS Nursing - page 2

Hello all. I would like to know if any of you knows who has more work load nurse or respiratory therapist. I am going to school for respiratory but at the same time I am thinking about going to... Read More

  1. by   SteveNNP
    Quote from airis
    Can u tell me all if the job for RT is more dangerous than nursing because RT deals with breathing/ people that are dying. I was told that RTs have the most difficult patients. While nurses handles the easiest ones.

    Wow, This really chaps my cheeks..... Since when did the idea get out that nurses had the easiest pts? Like a previous poster put it....we have all the patients. The RT may be there only 15 minutes to do a treatment, but the RN is there for 12 hours caring for the sickest patients. We do meds, iv's, dressings, assessments, run codes, accept trauma patients. As an RT you do what you need to and leave. Nurses are there all the time. Sorry if I sound upset.. I'm not. It just makes me mad when horribly wrong info like this gets out.
  2. by   Super RT
    I also hope to clear up something. RN's don't always get the "easiest" patients and the RT's don't always get the hardest patients. As an RT, I sometimes get the less sick patients in my assignment, as in the floor patients. But sometimes get the hardest patients, as in the ICU. It's similar with nursing. Somedays you get easier patients and sometines you get the harder patients. Even floor patients can be difficult. Trachs, CP, spinal fusions, g-tubes, etc.

    There are days that a vent patient is easier than a 2year old getting just a breathing treatment, at least they don't fight and run all over the room!:chuckle
  3. by   Nurse_Diane
    this website may help give you some more info on the field of Respiratory Care: http://www.aarc.org/
  4. by   airis
    thank u all for your response. It helped me understand more about RT and RN. I am still looking for more answers. I might go to a hospital and observe both nurse and RT. Thank you all again.
  5. by   pricklypear
    Quote from airis
    Can u tell me all if the job for RT is more dangerous than nursing because RT deals with breathing/ people that are dying. I was told that RTs have the most difficult patients. While nurses handles the easiest ones.
    OMG. Whoever told you this has a somewhat lopsided view of the whole situation. It's not about who has how many or what kind of patients. Are you under the impression that RTs are the primary caregiver of the "sickest" patients? And nurses take care of the easy ones?

    OK. I work in ICU. I may be assigned 2 patients. Both are critically ill, on vents (breathing machines). I assume FULL responsibility for ALL aspects of care for those patients. I am responsible for administering meds, treatments other than respiratory, labs, procedures, calling docs, titrating IV drugs, monitoring and treating changes, and recording the whole process.

    Every couple of hours or so, someone from the RT department comes into my room, writes down some numbers from the vent, adds some medication to a nebulizer, and hooks it up the the pt. Then they leave. Sometimes they document the treatment in the chart. They might do this same thing for every patient in the ICU. Then they'll go upstairs and give treatments to the patients on the floors. Then they'll start the whole process over again.

    During a code, the RT bags the patient (squeezes the breathing bag). Nursing does everything else. We get the patient hooked up to the vent, and the RT leaves. I take care of the rest.

    So basically what I'm saying is that RT and nursing have totally different jobs and responsibilities. As a nurse, I am responsible for EVERYTHING that is going on with the patient. The RT manages the vent. That's pretty much it. Not that their job is not important, or critical to the welfare of the patient. An experienced and knowledgeable RT is an invaluable resource. They just have a totally different job, focused specifically on the respiratory system. Hosestly, if I had it to do over again, I'd be an RT. Maybe I'm just in a bad mood tonight.
  6. by   Gompers
    I think the above posters did a great job of explaining that nurses are the primary caregivers of ALL hospital patients, taking care of almost everything they need, while respiratory is responsible for certain things with these patients. They are both very hard jobs, and both deal with many very sick people. There are just different responsibilites, that's all. Basically, if you want to move around a lot and treat a lot of patients every night, plus are interested in the whole respiratory system - go for the RT. If you want to care for just a few patients at a time, but be there with them all shift, handling all their needs besides respiratory, go for the RN. Definitely find out if there's a way to shadow both positions before you get too much further in your schooling so you can see which is a better fit for you. Even though there are plenty of medical professionals in your family, I think it's important that you see for yourself what is out there and not get all your information second hand.

    Just wanted to note that I've never personally see a nurse go back to school to be an RT, but I've seen quite a few RTs go back and get their RNs. They all had different reasons. For one thing, the pay is usually more for RNs than RTs. For another, there is more flexibility with nursing - more units to work on, outpatient, home care, etc. - plus hospitals employ more nurses than any other kind of employee so there are so many more choices out there. Lastly, one nurse decided to do nursing because she just felt like she wasn't "doing enough" just doing her work as an RT - she said she wanted to care for the total patient, not just the lungs, she said.
  7. by   Sheri257
    Quote from Gompers
    Just wanted to note that I've never personally see a nurse go back to school to be an RT, but I've seen quite a few RTs go back and get their RNs. They all had different reasons. For one thing, the pay is usually more for RNs than RTs.
    This is true. RN's usually make at least $10,000 more a year, on average, than RT's.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 7, '05
  8. by   topamicha
    I did a semester of RT school before I decided on nursing. I wanted to do total patient care, but RT was great. There are more opportunities in RT than are being said: you can work at a hospital, you can also do home healthcare, you can do asthma education, polysomnography, work in all different departments in the hospital, specialize in neonatal care, etc. There are case management jobs as well. You can be a flight RT. Many universities offer a BS in Respiratory Care. In fact, many RT's with associate degrees get their BS paid for. Hospitals are offering tuition reimbursement, sign on bonuses, and most start their RT's out at $20 an hour (in Colorado anyway). And you don't just bag patients and adjust vent settings. You do patient eval, breathing treaments, arterial blood draws, ABG assesments, even some form of physical therapy (I can't remember the name) to help patients breathing (CF patients for example), intubations, take sputum samples (yum!), and yes, vent settings. But setting a vent is not a piece of cake. It is complicated and can have a profound effect on patient outcome. RT's also have a great deal of autonomy and are specialized - they have vast knowledge of all things respiratory, so in reality, they are, second to the doctor, the authority on the issue.

    I'm sorry, I spent a lot of time around RT's that one semester. I hope I don't sound biased.
  9. by   Coloradogrl
    I was in Respiratory Therapy school here in Denver and then decide to go to nursing. I think Respiratory is a GREAT field but Nursing is what I orignal wanted to do! I also like that I could do alot more with nursing.
    THe two things I didnt like about respiratory therapy was 1: the school I attended here in Denver(very unprofessional!) and 2: I could get a straight story when it came to what I would make out of school. On salary.com I was getting alot higher, but when I was calling hospitals and asking pervious students I was getting something completley different.
    I would love to sit here any say that the money doesnt matter, but it does on some level!
  10. by   topamicha
    What school did u go to? I went in Denver, too.
  11. by   SkyeOwl
    Yes, please let us know. I'm thinking about getting my RRT and I live in Denver. Thanks!
  12. by   NICU Nurse Wannabe
    Hello Everyone!!!

    I love this forum by the way. It has taught me soo much of what I should expect. Anyhow, my sister is interested in Respiratory Therapy and was wondering about their job. Does anyone know what a RT can do (since intubation cannot be done). Like, what kind of procedures they usually perform?? Any kind of info you know would be so helpful. Thanks again.
  13. by   topamicha
    You do patient eval, breathing treaments, arterial blood draws, ABG assesments, even some form of physical therapy (I can't remember the name) to help patients breathing (CF patients for example), intubations, take sputum samples (yum!), and yes, vent settings.
    Intubation is within an RT's scope of practice, though it depends on the facility whether or not they get to do it very often. Also, pulmonary function testing, suctioning, etc.

    Concorde College, Pima Medical Institute, and Front Range all offer RT.

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