Respiratory Therapist VS Nursing - page 5

by airis

147,823 Views | 94 Comments

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 nursing school. I know nursing has... Read More


  1. 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:
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
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    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?
  5. 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.
  6. 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?
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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
  10. 0
    Regarding the 2 previous posts: How does experience as an RT make one a better nurse?


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