Can an LPN function as an RT?

  1. I was wondering if anyone knew the answer to this question? I am taking my health science pre-reqs at a community college, and I recently heard a student saying she heard the hospitals/home health agencies used to allow the LPNs to perform RT duties. I was wondering if anyone knew if this was a valid statement or not?
    I am a college freshman with a 3.4 GPA. I have already taken Anatomy/Physiology I & II, English, Med. Terminology, and Psychology. However, I am having a really tough time deciding on whether to major in respiratory care or nursing. I think my problem is I find all aspects of the medical field very interesting! (I started out as a surgical tech major, but I job shadowed last semester a few times and decided it was not for me.)
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  3. by   RochesterRN-BSN
    LPN and RT are two completely different degrees no.
  4. by   JSWebb
    Some places will allow an LPN to preform some basic RT tasks such as Nebs, and o2 protocol, but always under DIRECT supervision by a RT.
  5. by   Sehille4774
    Depends on the setting. I know LPN's in PA that are trach and vent nurses. After getting "checked off' in these skills, they can carry out whatever orders happen to be perscribed. O2, nebulizer treatments, chest physiotherapy, percusser vests, cough assist machines, suctioning ect. Not to mention being trained to deal with 100% of what is necessary to care for a vent pt. We don't have RT's to call. Have to have a basic understanding of the settings, how to Quickly troubleshoot issues and alarms, Good assessment for which therapys to use and what to do in emergency's, not to mention all the maintenance of the machine itself and circuit changes. (aren't allowed to push an IV med tho LMAO)

    There are also pulmonary and vent units in hospitals and LTC.

    So no, I am not a RT..nor do I represent myself that way..heh. But for a nurse (RN) I do mostly JUST pulmonary management.
  6. by   mandykal
    "can an lpn function as an rt?"

    no. a nurse can never "function" as an rt. however, a nurse can "function" within their scope that includes training, agency/facility polices, and within state regulations. and yes there are nurse out there depending on specialty are trained to do tasks that rrt's do. i'm an lpn/lvn, i work with vents/trachs, i can do neb tx's, trach care, lung assessments, suctions, basically everything with respiratory except adjust vent settings which is beyond my scope. of course rt is present to adjust 02 when needed for suctioning. yesterday, a patient pulled out his trach. me and the rt initiated protocol which is to reinsert one. we are both trained, we both can reinsert in which i would let the rt reinsert while i assist.... in addition to your question, i do know an lpn who is an rt., but is hired for rt., and can only function for what he was hired for....
  7. by   RRT_charlie
    An LPN can't function as an RT, as they are two different degrees and specialties. However, sometimes LPN's (as well as RN's) can perform some basic RT duties (MDI's, suctioning, etc) , and sometimes RT's can perform some basic RN duties (EKG's, chest tubes, etc). It depends on the hospital.
  8. by   cayenne06
    LPNs frequently perform "RT" type skills in home care. I have had LPNs on all of my vented patients, and they do everything from trach changes to 02 titration and nebs. Of course, the breadth of knowledge that an RT receives in school would take a nurse a long time to pick up in clinical practice! We look to our on call RTs for help all the time.

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