Respiratory Therapist VS Nursing - page 4

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. Visit  RTatnight profile page
    0
    Hi everyone! Interesting thread... I thought it would be nice if I could add a few of my own opinions on the subject.

    I am a fairly new RT in Canada for just about over a year now. I am currently a night-shift worker since I am pursuing my pre-university studies in Engineering during the daytime. When I made the decision to join the RT program, I didn't really know yet what I would do with my life. The profession was a bit falsely represented to me when I started. I soon noticed how things really were when I started my clinical rotations. I knew right away this wasn't what I would be doing of my life, but I decided to finish the program anyways since it was important for me to finish what I had started (and it would also be a good back-up plan to have an RT diploma in my pocket) I know I'm far from being the pioneer of respiratory therapy, but I did realize quite a few things during both my short period as a practicing RT and as an RT student. First, let me start by saying that this is a relatively new profession... If I'm not mistaken, the first RT's (which were then called Oxygen Orderlies, and Inhalation Technicians later on) appeared in the 50s approximately. Sure it's been about 56 years, but it's still quite new when compared to other health care professionals such as nurses, who have been present for a few hundred years. From what I heard from RTs who have been practicing 20+ years, this profession has progressed A LOT lately, most probably due to the increase in respiratory diseases in patients as well as the technological advances with the medical equipment. Most of the modern ventilators being used now in North America use processors and software and are therefore more complex in operation than the good old MA-1.

    I am currently working in a 700 bed hospital, which includes 2 ICUs, 1 CCU, 1 NICU, and of course an ER, PACU, and 20-theater OR. We are approximately 40 RTs working in this hospital (not counting the RTs working in the OR).

    As mentioned previously by a nurse, no, we do not only chart ventilator parameters once every few hours. We participate in many things; intubations, bronchoscopies, bronchial suctioning, non-invasive ventilation, aerosol/MDI treatments, code blues, nocturnal CPAPs to only name a few.

    One thing that striked me the most when I read the postings here was how one RT prospect was saying that respiratory therapy has so much possibilities of advancement. I think that is mostly false. When it comes to our field, the most you will get in advancement is possibly being chief or department chief of a department, and by then your job will be much more administrative than anything else. Other possibilites include working for home care, flight service, or private companies (such as Siemens or Dragaer, who manufacture ventilators) However, these possibilities are very remote and I would say less than 5 % of RT's eventually make it to that.
    Sure, there are more exciting things that an RT might come accross, such as high frequency ventilation, inhaled nitric oxide, or independent lung ventilation... however, I wouldn't see any of that as advancement since you are still an RT. Post-degree studies are very limited (atleast here in Canada). We used to have a university certificate available but it got removed. Now, all I am aware about is another certificate that can be done by distance.

    One of the biggest possibilities for RTs (and as well for RNs) was to become a Cardiovascular Perfusionist. However, in Canada atleast, Universities have changed admission criterias. They now require both RN or RT certification AND a bachelor in science.

    Also, one thing I'd like to add is that it is false that RTs are more respected and that their inputs are more valued than RNs. I think RTs may be well qualified to answer questions in the respiratory component of a patient, but when it comes to the whole image, an RN is definitely more qualified to answer. And when a panicking resident wants quick answers, the RN is the one to be questioned.

    My point in this post if just to say that the RT profession is much more technical-oriented than anything else. They do not care for only one patient. but care for many patients all over the hospital. They do however tend to care for the sickest patients, since the very ill usually end up on ventilators. They are the best ones when it comes to ventilator modes and troubleshooting. I believe that on the other half, the RN profession is a very big mix of technical and clinical work. And with more and more auxillary nurses coming in, I believe RNs are moving away more and more from the technical portion of their jobs and are becoming more involved in clinical work.

    Don't get me wrong, Respiratory Therapy is a nice profession and can be very rewarding, and it's also far from being easy to be a Respiratory Therapist. However, I believe that at this point and time, Nursing has much more advantages in terms of advancement, satisfaction, level of responsibility and so on. So, to anyone thinking of seriously joining the RT profession, I really encourage you to call a hospital and arrange a visit with a therapist. Ask him/her questions and find out if this is what you want... Only you will know if this is really for you.
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  3. Visit  Golden_Clover profile page
    0
    Quote from RTatnight
    Hi everyone! Interesting thread... I thought it would be nice if I could add a few of my own opinions on the subject.
    Hi RTatnight
    After reading this website I have a fairly good understanding of a nurses duties, but I still don't have a strong understanding of RT duties. Could you tell me a little more of what you do as an RT and what schooling is like? I have been juggling between the both of these careers for a while. I understand that nursing has more advancement opprotunities, but I am very interested in specializing in respiratory as well. I have not been able find an Rt to shadow, I just met several while volunteering at the hospital. Any more info on RT would be greatly appreciated!!:spin:
  4. Visit  work4choc profile page
    0
    I too am interested in hearing more from you RTatnight.

    When you say that RT is more technical and nursing is clinical and technical but more clinical, what exactly do you mean?

    I am curious because RT is on my list of considerations if I ultimately do not enter the BSN accel program I am considering applying for. I think it would be interesting to work with peds patients who have chronic respiratory problems and to help them manage their problems.

    I have always kind of equated technical with clinical as a descriptive term so I would love to hear your insight on it.

    Thanks - hope to see you back here.
  5. Visit  nightrider5020 profile page
    1
    You all have some interesting concepts on the differences of RN's vs. RRT's.
    How about a perspective towards education vs. clinical time?
    I have been an RRT for 24 years and was one of the first to receive the NPS (Neonatal-Pediatric Specialist) designation also. I had 3 years of RT schooling, 1st year is normally general studies, biology, A&P,etc. 2nd year: Basic Respiratory A & P, Physics, Fluidics, Gas Laws and equipment operation with trouble shooting. 3rd year consists of clinicals normally three days a week and advanced respiratory classes twice a week. We are required to be competent with ABG's drawing and analysis with interpretation in all age groups. We must also be able to operate, trouble-shoot almost any piece of equipment we use. In addition, be able to identify different significant objects on X-rays, ie. ETT placement, pneumo's, blebs, foreign objects and be able to point this out to MD's and suggest possible resolution methods. In addition to critical care, some of us have branched off into pulmonary function laboratories, NICU-PICU, ER, helicopter/fixed wing transport and a few into MD's.
    I would never say, and RN or RRT isn't important. I have helped RN's with IV insertions, moving patients, lifting, NG tubes, ECG's; If I have the extra time, I'll help anyone else that appears to need some help. We just need to remember, "Do the Right Thing."
    Remember, that patient is someone's: Sister, Mom, Dad baby, etc.
    As long as we can help each other as a team, we can help our patients through their tough times.
    David, RRT-NPS
    MAmomof4 likes this.
  6. Visit  potentialnurse profile page
    0
    Quote from Sirena922
    I too was thinking of switching from Nursing to RT, but I surely cant make my mind up. Money wise I'd like nursing, but it seems to me that there are just to many obstacles to get into nursing programs, thats my only dilimia. Then having to take all these test to get into the program. It makes me lean more towards the RT program.

    Does anyone have a real idea of what starting RT's make? I'm starting the program in August and as one person stated earlier, what the salary sites say the pay is and whar people tell me it is different so I'd appreciate the insight if anyone knows so I can make a change of major if necessary. My first class is Aug 24. 2006. I too at first was all nursing but its so hard to get in and so few slots and too many applicants. I'm thinking of just doing nursing later after completing my rt program. Is there a niche for a nurse who was an RT?
  7. Visit  MAnders1405 profile page
    1
    2 questions addressed here.

    First "Does anyone have a real idea of what starting RT's make?"

    From the dept of labor www.dol.gov webstie:

    Median annual earnings of respiratory therapists (RRT) were $43,140 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $37,650 and $50,860. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $32,220, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $57,580. In general medical and surgical hospitals, median annual earnings of respiratory therapists were $43,140 in May 2004.

    Median annual earnings of respiratory therapy technicians (CRT) were $36,740 in May 2004. The middle 50 percent earned between $30,490 and $43,830. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,640, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $52,280. Median annual earnings of respiratory therapy technicians employed in general medical and surgical hospitals were $36,990 in May 2004.

    Here is Missouri a starting RRT makes $16.13 and starting RN makes $17.45

    Question 2, "Is there a niche for a nurse who was an RT?"
    I work with several nurses who also have their CRT or RRT. one is a cardio/pulmonary rehab specialist, one is general manager for two fitness centers (also does rehab), one works in a sleep lab, and three do general nursing. Two of those are on the cardiac floor the other in ER/ED. in that dept he does both RN and RT work. The other two just stick to nursing duties.

    I currently work with one CRT who just finished her BSN and another RRT who is starting nursing school this month after being an RT for 10 years.

    I hope that helps.
    hulljay83 likes this.
  8. Visit  MAnders1405 profile page
    0
    Quote from RTatnight
    I am currently working in a 700 bed hospital, which includes 2 ICUs, 1 CCU, 1 NICU, and of course an ER, PACU, and 20-theater OR. We are approximately 40 RTs working in this hospital (not counting the RTs working in the OR).

    Wow. I work at a 300 bed facility (1 10 bed ICU, 1 10 bed CCU, 1 15 bed level 3 NICU and ER/ED (level 1 trauma center). We have 46 RT on staff not counting the ones in the sleep lab, HBO lab, Rehab or the ones who are also nurses. We keep one RT per unit with a floater to travel in between. 1 in the ER/ED each shift. The acute care floors have 5-7 during the day with 2-4 at night. This is all 24 7. Some are PRN staff but they still count. How do you guys make it with only 40 RT and 700 beds?
  9. Visit  Mommy TeleRN profile page
    0
    I am a nursing student and by no means an expert - but just one general observation. When I had hospital orientation there were 4 RT's starting and they ALL stated their plans were to become RN's...not sure why but I found that really interesting!
  10. Visit  rninme profile page
    2
    Quote from Mommy Nurse2b
    I am a nursing student and by no means an expert - but just one general observation. When I had hospital orientation there were 4 RT's starting and they ALL stated their plans were to become RN's...not sure why but I found that really interesting!
    I spent 18 years as an RTT prior to becoming an RN. It is not the goal of all Respiratory Therapists.

    To answer some of the posters questions....in 18 years, I was never treated with anything less than respect by any of my co-workers....lol....not counting a couple of residents...but they soon learned . I never felt that I was not a valued member of the team...and I loved being a respiratory therapist. When I became an RN...I took a very large pay cut....but I gave myself more flexibility and got the heck out of management, which I hated....my 'long term goal' is to teach and I am entering an MSN program this fall.

    IMOH opinion....I am a much better nurse because of the years I spent as an RRT.
    hulljay83 and oklahomagal like this.
  11. Visit  MAnders1405 profile page
    0
    Quote from Mommy Nurse2b
    I am a nursing student and by no means an expert - but just one general observation. When I had hospital orientation there were 4 RT's starting and they ALL stated their plans were to become RN's...not sure why but I found that really interesting!
    I find that nurses who were RTs first are better nurses. They definitely know breath sounds. A lot of nurses call for respiratory treatments for ANY adverse breath sounds. Respiratory treatments are primarily used to treat wheezing.

    Money has something to do with it. I work with several RT who made the switch. Most go from CRT to RN. in other words from the lowest level RT to the highest level nurse. Here that is a $6.00 an hour pay increase.

    As far as importance, at my facility, being an RT automatically makes us part of the code blue team. And yes RT intubate at my hospital. But because so many RTs show up to a code, and we are very comfortable in doing it, the "floor" nurses step aside and let the 2 or three RTs and the 2 ICU nurses run the code. The only thing we can't do is IV drugs. We do the CPR, EKG/ECG, intubate, and administer drugs down the ET tube. RTs are well respected at my medical center.
    Last edit by MAnders1405 on Aug 9, '06
  12. Visit  br107 profile page
    0
    Regarding the 2 previous posts: How does experience as an RT make one a better nurse?
  13. Visit  MAnders1405 profile page
    0
    Quote from br107
    Regarding the 2 previous posts: How does experience as an RT make one a better nurse?

    RTs have advanced knowledge about the cardio-pulmonary system. Most RT schools require ACLS and PALS certification before graduation. Pharmacology is also a big part of the RT process. I work with several RN, RRTs who did RT first. It's not an accident they all work in advanced areas such as on the heart floor, ICU, Emergency dept. and so on.

    You can also consider it a stepping stone as well. Knowing what they know, an RT in RN school can spend less time on cardio pulmonary and more time in other areas of nursing program.

    The more places I work and the more people I meet, the more I realize how much I learned in the RT program.
  14. Visit  bassplayerrob profile page
    4
    Quote from pricklypear
    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.
    I am a Respiratory therapist that has worked for over 16 years, just finished nursing school. Through the years nursing and respiratory therapy has disrespected each other. Both are equal in terms of education, i.e. AAS. A respiratory therapist should not be viewed as someone just writing down vent settings and squirting medication in a neb. Likewise nursing does more than start IVs and clean up messes a patient makes. I have AAS in RC and nursing, went into nursing to be a FNP but love nurse the same as RCPs. Be assured that one deserves just as much respect as the other. Running from floor to floor, the units and ER is not an easy task just as hanging blood, titrating Dopamine and giving chemo all at the same time is difficult. Please work together and respect one another.
    nurse4forever, RRT2RN2CRNA, adamst, and 1 other like this.


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