Respiratory therapists evaluate, treat, rehabilitate and educate patients to prevent and manage cardiopulmonary diseases.
Procedures performed by respiratory therapists include aerosolized medication therapy, bronchopulmonary clearance techniques and administration of medical gases. Respiratory therapists also provide ventilator support, pulmonary rehabilitation and advanced life support. They are skilled in airway maintenance, procurement and analysis of arterial blood gas samples, and in the performance of pulmonary function tests and sleep diagnostic studies.
Clinical Observation Opportunities
To explore a career in respiratory therapy, students can spend the day or just several hours with a therapist. Students may observe at any hospital after contacting the Respiratory Care department to arrange a convenient date and time. Allow up to five working days for the contact person to respond to a request.
Appropriate dress is required during a clinical observation. In general, jeans, shorts, T-shirts, sandals and athletic shoes are considered inappropriate. Questions about proper attire can be addressed with the facility’s contact person prior to the scheduled observation. Some hospitals have specific requirements, such as proof of a recent TB test, flu shot or vaccination records. Students should discuss any hospital-specific requirements prior to the visit. Strict confidentiality regarding patient care is expected and required by law during and after a clinical observation.
A clinical observation can potentially be arranged with the following IU School of Medicine clinical partners by December 1. To cancel or reschedule a clinical observation, students must provide the clinical affiliate 24 hours notice. Failure to do so may adversely affect application to the Respiratory Therapy program.
Applicants to the Respiratory Therapy degree program are encouraged (but not required) to complete two or more clinical observations. Applicants are encouraged to record observation hours on this Respiratory Therapy Clinical Observation Form.