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Working as a Respiratory Therapist

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.

Clinical Observation

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.

Clinical Observation

  • IU Health Methodist Hospital (Indianapolis)
    IU Health Methodist Hospital
    Respiratory Care Department
    1701 N Senate Blvd.
    Indianapolis, IN 46202
    Contact: Joel Meacham, RRT
    (317) 962-5063
  • Riley Hospital at IU Health (Indianapolis)
    Riley Hospital at IU Health
    Respiratory Care Department
    702 Barnhill Drive
    Indianapolis, IN 46202
    Contact: Eric Sageser, RRT
    (317) 944-1002
  • St. Vincent Hospital (Indianapolis)
    St. Vincent Hospital
    Respiratory Care Department
    2001 W. 86th St.
    Indianapolis, IN 46240
    Contact: Ruth Reynolds, RRT
    (317) 338-3827
  • Franciscan St. Francis Hospital (Indianapolis)
    Franciscan St. Francis Hospital
    Respiratory Care Department
    8111 S. Emerson Ave.
    Indianapolis, IN 46237
    Contact: Joseph Boosey, RRT
    (317) 528-8952
  • IU Health Indiana University Hospital (Indianapolis)
    IU Health Indiana University Hospital
    Respiratory Care Department
    550 University Blvd.
    Indianapolis, IN 46202
    Contact: Joel Meacham, RRT
    (317) 944-1674
  • IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital (Muncie)
    IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital
    Respiratory Therapy Department
    2401 W. University Ave.
    Muncie, IN 47303
    Contact: Kathy Walz, RRT
    (765) 741-1085
  • IU Health Bloomington (Bloomington)
    IU Health Bloomington
    Students interested in scheduling a shadow can visit the IU Health Bloomington website and follow these steps:
    1. Click “For Students” (on the far left in the gray area).
    2. Click “Shadowing” and follow STEP #1 for the application process.