Respiratory Care is a health specialty involving the treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system. These patients may be found in the newborn nursery, the surgical and medical units, the emergency department, the outpatient department, intensive and critical care units, in extended care and skilled nursing facilities, and at home.
Respiratory Therapy has been around in many forms since the 1940's. We have been called oxygen technicians, inhalation therapists, respiratory therapists, and respiratory care practitioners. It is only within the last 15 years that respiratory care has taken its place as an essential and non-replaceable part of the health care delivery system.
Over the last few years, the role of respiratory care professionals has expanded greatly. It is anticipated that the need for respiratory therapists in all health care settings will grow 40% in the next 8 years. Therapists are also needed to serve on multidisciplinary teams within the health care environment. For these and many other reasons, we anticipate the need for therapists with multiple skills to increase.
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