Respiratory Therapy vs. Nursing - page 2

Im really interested in exploring Nursing after a semi-successful (passing with B's) but disappointing experience in Nursing school, and was wondering if there was anyone out there who had done both Respiratory Therapy and... Read More

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    After 20 years of RT, I became an RN. It is a natural transition. Do I wish I had started of as RN? Absolutely. By now, I would be making more money, having a better retirement, and able to work less and make more. RT is a rut, for the most part. There is a top-level salary, no upwards mobility, no options for career change without further education. Nursing is better in the long run. That being said, I loved being an RT up to the very end. I also love being an RN, though. It's all in the attitude.
    l3wilso likes this.

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    I am an RN switching to Cardiopulmonary Care....Respiratory Therapist. I have worked in general surgery, the floor in various areas, and trauma care. Let me say that we are all qualified vital medical professionals. Both of these professions are detailed and difficult. I had it in my mind that because I have been a nurse for a decade that I could just breeze through the RT Program....ya'll there are so many things that RT people are trained on, and we are not, and vice versa. I say help each other, respect each other, and educate each other. Im glad I am a nurse and can take my training to th RT side of things. Why have I made a,decision to go RT? This is always what I wanted to do, but Nursing was quicker to achieve and begin working. Now, my kids are 10, 12, 17, & 19...I can move on. Take care everyone!
    pwickson likes this.
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    I'm an RT, you can ask me. I'm waiting to be accepted into nursing school.
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    that's correct, i graduated from RT school in 2011, and applied to RN school October 2013. I'm hoping to get in by Spring 2015.
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    wow, that is the very first time that i've honestly heard of an RN going to RT. Maybe you can be a respiratory nurse??? In Los Angeles we have a place called Barlow where the nurses are called respiratory nurses, it's a rehab hospital for vent dependent patients.
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    I would research job prospects before dedicating yourself. We have only a handful of rt compared to RNs. We are also downsizing the rt because we'd only need them do the bipap setup or arterial blood gasses. I've been trained on vents (granted they were old fashioned because they need to be portable), can do aerosols, intubation, etc. So they are going to use more paramedics.
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    I am an RT going thru excelsior to achieve my RN. I've got 12 years experience in RT. Its a great field, critical care. Like someone else says you are in the front lines. And also you have a lot of training such as with blood gases and critical care and ventilators. It takes two years to learn about the respiratory system in detail and how to work vents. So, trust me, there is a lot. Where I work we have autonomy, get to make changes, manage all the vents, and make changes according to our consult. We recently started using a newer mode APRV (airway pressure release ventilation). No one can simply take a course on how to run a vent or get a little training and be proficient because it runs a lot deeper than that. It takes years to learn that stuff. In addition, we do all the oxygen therapy, neb treatments, ekg's, pulmonary toileting. However, as someone else has already said there is not a lot of room for branching out. So, I am looking to keep my RT license (I worked too hard for them) and hopefully branch out in nursing expanding upon them. I do plan on getting nursing experience in the hospital because I feel like that is crucial. Being around nursing, I don't dare say that is easy because they juggle a lot. There are pros and cons to both careers. But with RT you might have two Rt's to a whole hospital and when the crap hits the fan, you are also juggling a lot. Neither one is easy by no means. You have to take boards at the end with both and be accountable for licensure. So, all in all I chose nursing because of the flexibility.
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    also, I think that it is crazy to downsize RT's and that people don't think they are needed or valuable because trust me, they are. When it come to acid base balance and mechanical ventilation/the airway then who better to handle that. Also, I can tell you the time I have seen a non rebreather set on 3lpm flow (seriously) or a nurse calls and says I increased Mr. smith to 6lpm (no, please don't do that because he retains co2 and now I will have to put him on bipap). You get to know the patients and who does best with what because you treat them over and over. Also, you know the respiratory system functioning and how to best make recommendations. So, even after I transition over to nursing, I will always value the RT. And I will say that I have learned a lot from the nurses I work with. I value their contribution to healthcare. I think we both make a value contribution to teamwork and the patient.
    pwickson likes this.
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    Actually that is not necessarily correct as both RT and Nursing learn the same A&P in their first two years of training. RT's learn the entire body system as well. I think the major difference is that Nursing looks at the entire Psychological, Mental and Physical nature of the entire patient and well being of the patient and family. Most RN program are undergraduate where as most RT's programs are still diploma trained with some being undergraduate. This has limited the profession at the government of education level to allow for undergraduate programs.

    Both professions have their role in the healthcare system. Both have diversity in jobs whether it is acute care, outpatient, clinics, primary care. I say this as I have experience working as an RT for 23 years but also managing RN's in the ICU in a former role. I currently lead the critical care strategic clinical network for the province. I understand both the role of the RN and the role of the RT. In some cases such as the Medical Emergency Teams we are cross training both RNs/RTs. We have very similar restrictions outlined in the health professions act and I would think of all the allied health professions that Respiratory is most closest aligned to the Nursing profession. So in terms of my career I have had a lot of flexibility and in many cases most people now think I am an RN. I respect both disciplines and the role we play caring for patients.

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