Respiratory Therapist VS Nursing - page 5

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   jethrobodine
    I would have to add kudos to bassplayers post. I have worked as a traveler/agency nurse for 16 years and have been all over the country, once licensed in 26 separate states. In that capacity you have to hit the ground running and my area of expertise has always been ICU/ER so you can't have one thumb in your nose and be a lone wolf when somebody crashes. If it weren't for RT's my ass would have been in the fire more than once with nobody to pull it out had it not been for them. It is a major comfort to know that somebody with specific knowledge has your back and you are freed up to take care of other issues. Nurses do what nobody else can because they are licensed to do it. A therapist cannot hang vasoactive drips or give IV push paralytics or a thousand other things that nurses do. On the other hand, as a nurse I have given lots of nebs, drawn abg's (from a-lines and sticks), done cpt, retaped ett tubes, assisted more intubations than I can count, taken orders for vent changes. The RT in most places I have worked is obliged to give the nurse the responsibility to call gases to the doctor and take RT orders because they can't legally take telephone or verbal orders. Still, I would not place the nurse in the position of being above the RT, and a regular floor nurse is in a much different position than an ER nurse or an ICU nurse both in scope of practise and in experience and training. There is not an ICU in the land that would take a nurse that is not ACLS at least and the RT is not always available for every eventuality in the unit. If three patients are crashing in three different ICU departments at a large institution that only has a couple of RT's on staff at night then guess who has to pick up the slack. Yep, it's the nurse. So though I honor and respect RT's I know that ultimately the responsibility for the patient will fall on the nurse and so will the blame if things crap out. Regretably on those few occasions when praise is given for the well being of a patient the fair share of credit is not often given to the RT who has done so much.
  2. by   hulia_eulia
    Sorry guys. I'm a Respiratory Therapist so please don't be mad at me for posting on this. But I work in a large hospital and like the nurses at my facility we don't have time to just sit around. The ICU nurses have 2 patients and even our unit therapist still have floor work to go along with their unit work. The floor nurses have 5 patients (which is alot) but we usualy have 50+(per RT) and they aren't all on the same hall or floor at that plus their 5 or more ventilators running, plus any code that happens. I know that some hospitals the Rt's do about 10 treatments and then have alot of down time. But it isn't like that everywhere.
  3. by   myboys04
    Hello! I was planning on entering the nurses program this fall, but have been thinking of changing to RT. I have no medical experience and was wondering who to contact to shadow both fields. Will the local hospitals allow someone to do this? Also, what is the demand for nuses vs. RT?
  4. by   panamabrt
    I went to respiratory school from 1986 to 1989 then nursing and graduated with a BSN. So I have an AD in respiratory and a BS in nursing.

    I love both fields but my passion is respiratory. There is a demand for using both fields in some states/countries. Many therapists are going back to get their RN just to be versatile.

    They are both hard fields...My suggestion would be to get a BS in either one but to get a degree from both....

    Hope this helps!
  5. by   JaredCNA
    ^BUMP. It took a while to find this thread, and like the OP, I'm in the same situation. I've recently become fascinated by the idea of respiratory care but I've always been fascinated by nursing because my two aunts are a nurse, my mom is DON at an adolescent psych mental health facility, and my uncle is a CRNA. However, unlike the OP, my family tells me that any of the health careers can be promising and can all help me when I do become a nurse (and I will, even if I'm 50 years old) but I think I'm at an advantage because most people I spoke with about RT talk about burnout. Well I'm 19 and I can see myself doing resp therapy for 2-5 years no problem and then going to nursing school.


    Quote from nightrider5020
    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

    I wanted to reply to this because I agree with David. I hate the stupid flame wars and fights that people always get into. We are all part of a team.
  6. by   shannyshan
    Im a respiratory student and am currently doing one of my clinicals. In my opinion theres an equal workload between the two. At my hospital nurses are constrained to their specific floor and respiratory therapists are assigned to a few floors, all of which they scurry back and forth between all day. Yes, there usually is some time in between rounds that they are able to sit and chill, but to any one nurse, it probably seems like once the therapist is out of their site, they arent doing anything valuable anymore. Nurses have to deal with all their patients needs while a respiratory therapist may do a lot less with any one pateint , they are also assigned to a lot more patients than a typical nurse. I'm really am enjoying my time clinical time and feel as though it gives me some freedom to spend time on different floors and different areas of the hospital where I can learn new things.
  7. by   carebear1976
    Excellent thread. I sure have learned a lot reading this.

    I was wondering of you could tell me..Are RT's at risk for a lot of diseases? What kind of diseases? What are "inhaled diesases?
  8. by   NatashaFromOregon
    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.
    I am currently working on my pre-req's to nursing school (ASN) and am ALSO looking into the RT program for the same reasons. Both RN and RT careers interest me, and both have advantaged and disadvantages; like others said, it really depends on the type of person you are and the healthcare role you desire.

    One reason I sometimes lean more heavily on RT is because, as most of us know, nursing schools applications are VERY competitive. At my school we have about 400 applicants for about 80 positions annually....even with immaculate grades, i am nervous about being accepted. The RT program is not competitive at all; anyone with the grades and pre-requisites is accepted.

    To the OP, good luck with your decision; the previous advice about doing a job-shadow of each profession is sound.
  9. by   jaha
    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.
    Wow you really think RT's do nothing? Well we are doing something b/c all of us at the hospital I work in are constantly running around and we are all in pretty good shape where almost all the RN's need to drop about 50-80lbs. Become an RT and you will stay thin.
  10. by   Tweety
    Quote from jaha
    Wow you really think RT's do nothing? Well we are doing something b/c all of us at the hospital I work in are constantly running around and we are all in pretty good shape where almost all the RN's need to drop about 50-80lbs. Become an RT and you will stay thin.
    This kind of talk is unproductive and insulting.

    A little understanding and appreciation for one another is in order here. For a respiratory therapist to insinuate "I work harder because I have 50 patients and the nurse only has two" is about as insulting as saying "the RT really does nothing but come in and write down a few numbers and then leaves".

    Both need groups need to get the chips off their shoulders and realize we're both professional hard working people with a hard-degree degree that takes a lot of hard work and common sense.

    Thanks. If all we're going to do is insult one another, it might be time to just end this conversation.
  11. by   PageRespiratory!
    Quote from jethrobodine
    A therapist cannot hang vasoactive drips or give IV push paralytics or a thousand other things that nurses do......The RT in most places I have worked is obliged to give the nurse the responsibility to call gases to the doctor and take RT orders because they can't legally take telephone or verbal orders.
    >
    I realize that this post is almost a year old, and complimentary as well, but the quotes above are just simply not true. As a registered licensed therapist my license is worded almost identically to that of an RN. I'm "legally allowed" to perform any intervention that a licensed RN is. That being said, I have been not trained to do so, I fill a different role. And those tasks are better to be performed by the primary caregiver. BTW - at the hospital that I work in, the ICU manager is an RT.
  12. by   wtbcrna
    Quote from PageRespiratory!
    >
    I realize that this post is almost a year old, and complimentary as well, but the quotes above are just simply not true. As a registered licensed therapist my license is worded almost identically to that of an RN. I'm "legally allowed" to perform any intervention that a licensed RN is. That being said, I have been not trained to do so, I fill a different role. And those tasks are better to be performed by the primary caregiver. BTW - at the hospital that I work in, the ICU manager is an RT.
    Well you learn something new everyday. Here is what I found on the web on RT practice FAQs from NY.

    Practice Issues
    Frequently Asked Questions

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Introduction
    As a newly licensed respiratory therapist or respiratory therapy technician you may have questions about the practice of your profession. The following section may help you answer some of the most common questions. This section is based upon questions submitted to the State Board for Respiratory Therapy by licensed respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy technicians like yourself.

    Practice Questions
    What is the difference between licensure and registration?

    For each of the professions regulated by the State Education Department, licensees are licensed for life unless that license is revoked or suspended by the Board of Regents. In order to practice, however, you must be registered with the Department. In respiratory therapy, registration is required every three years. The Department typically sends out a renewal request four months before the beginning of the new renewal cycle. If you do not receive a renewal notice, please contact the Office of the Professions' Registration Unit at 518-474-3817 ext. 410 or opregfee@mail.nysed.gov. You are responsible for renewing your registration even if you do not receive an automatic renewal form. You can confirm your registration expiration date through the Office of the Professions' online license verification service here.


    The scopes of practice for the professions of respiratory therapy and respiratory therapy technician are defined in Education Law. Can I do everything that falls within the legal scope of the practice of my profession?

    A licensee may legally perform services that are in the definition of the scope of practice but licensees must also be competent to deliver those services. Part 29 of the Rules of the Board of Regents requires that licensees practice within the scope defined in law and within their personal scope of competence. If you are not competent to provide a service that you are legally allowed to provide, then you may not provide that service. As a licensed professional, it is your responsibility to practice within the scope of your abilities and expertise. If you practice outside your personal scope of competence, you may be charged with professional misconduct.


    Must I wear an identification badge when I am providing respiratory therapy services in a healthcare setting?

    You must wear an identification badge indicating your name and your professional title if you are practicing as an employee of a hospital, clinic, group practice or multi-professional facility or at a commercial establishment offering health services to the public. This requirement is set out in Part 29.2(a)(9) of the Rules of the Board of Regents.


    What is my official professional title?

    The Respiratory Therapy Practice Act, presented in Article 164 of the New York State Education Law defines the professional titles of respiratory care providers as Respiratory Therapists (RTs) or Respiratory Therapy Technicians (RTTs). That is the title that must be included on your identification badge. Other titles, including those granted from national specialty organizations such as the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC) may also be used but are optional.


    Do I need to keep my registration certificate on me in order to practice?

    Not necessarily, although the registration certificate must be available for inspection upon request. In many facilities copies of the registration certificates of all licensed staff are maintained in a centralized office. This requirement is set out in Part 59.8(c) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


    What type of medications may a respiratory therapist administer to patients?

    Respiratory therapists and respiratory therapy technicians can administer medications that are directly related to respiratory care procedures*. There is no restriction on the routes of administration of such medications. It is expected that the licensee has gained competence in performing medication administration through education and experience.


    Is it within the scope of practice of a respiratory therapist to insert an intravenous line?

    Insertion of an intravenous line may be within the scope of practice of respiratory therapy if the purpose of the line is directly related to providing respiratory care*. It is expected that the licensee can demonstrate competence in this procedure.


    Is it within the scope of practice of a respiratory therapist to insert an arterial line?

    Insertion of an arterial line is within the scope of practice of respiratory therapy when the arterial line is inserted to monitor medical gases*. It is expected that the licensee is competent to perform the procedure through education and experience.


    Can respiratory therapists accept an order for treatment from a nurse practitioner (NP)?

    Yes, Section 8501 of Article 164 of the Education Law was amended in 2004 to permit respiratory therapy services to be performed based on a prescription from a certified nurse practitioner.


    I understand that respiratory therapy care practitioners are not included in the law that mandates infection control education as a condition of licensure and registration. What does that mean for me specifically?

    Respiratory care practitioners are not required to complete an infection control course as a condition of licensure and continued registration, however, you are required to use scientifically accepted infection prevention techniques and practices according to Part 29.2(a)(13) of the Rules of the Board of Regents.


    If I am unsure about whether something falls within my legal scope of practice, how can I find out?

    Please contact the New York State Board for Respiratory Therapy by mail at:
    New York State Education Department
    State Board for Respiratory Therapy
    89 Washington Avenue, Second Floor
    Albany, New York, 12234-1000
    Phone: 518-473-3817 ext. 120
    E-mail: rtbd@mail.nysed.gov
    *Section 8501 of Article 164 of the Education Law defines the practice of respiratory therapy as: the performance of cardiopulmonary evaluation, respiratory therapy treatment techniques, and education of the patient, family and public.....Therapy shall include pharmacologic agents related to respiratory care procedures and the application and monitoring of medical gases.
  13. by   jstbreathe
    OK, I am new here, but have to reply to this. I have read all of the post. I am a Resp Therapist for 5 years now. I work in a 500 bed hosp. 2 adult icu's, 1 nicu, and the norms, cath lab, surgery, recovery, etc.
    I love being an RT, my mom and sis are RN's, and yes they do act as if my job is not important.
    I too am a trauma junkie. I love to stay busy. We work with 9 on days, 7 at nights. We all go out with as many as 40 pts. I think the RT has to earn trust with RN's and Dr's. And at the same time they have to earn my trust!
    Silly things I have been called to pts room stat for:
    "My pt is cyanotic"..... get to the room to find out pt just ate purple popcycle!
    "My pts sat is dropping, I turned O2 up but its not helping'...... get to room to find pts O2 not hooked up to flow meter that is on flush!
    "my pt is coughing"..... my response give cough medicine.
    " my pt is foaming at the mouth".....get to room to find the RN gave po meds to a pt that is 90 years old and in hosp for dysphagia
    Being an RT you do have to know alot of tech stuff. How to put machines together.
    (vents, bipap, ippb, ipv) Some smaller hosp do not have common resp equip that was made in the past 20 years.
    :spin:
    Ok, if ya want money.......go nursing.
    ifya want variety...go respiratory!!
    I see pts in ER, on the floor, icu then at rehab! I enjoy seeing the recovery!

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