Respiratory Therapy Week


People who are lucky enough to take breathing for granted may have never even heard of a “respiratory therapist.”  But for those with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and other conditions, “RTs,” as they are known for short, are key to breathing easier.  National Respiratory Care Week is a great time for everyone to learn more about these vital health care professionals.

Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care settings, and doctor's offices to assist physicians in caring for their patients with pulmonary problems. You'll find RTs managing ventilators in the ICU, performing the pulmonary function tests (PFTs) that are used to diagnose lung disease, and delivering respiratory care throughout hospitals and in the emergency department.  RTs also spend time educating chronic lung disease patients about their conditions and the medications used to treat them, so they will be better able to stay at home and out of the hospital.  "We take great pride in providing excellent respiratory care services to the communities we serve at Scotland County Hospital & Clinics," said Tracy Simpson, RT, Cardiopulmonary Department Supervisor.

There are three respiratory therapists providing patient care at Scotland County Hospital.  The department supervisor, Tracy Simpson, has 22 years experience with certification in Respiratory Therapy and has been at SCH since 1996.  Goldie Shinn holds a certification degree in Respiratory Therapy.  She has 20 years experience and has been at SCH since 2008.  Amy Burton is a Registered Respiratory Therapist with certification in Adult Critical Care.  She has 24 years of experience and she's been at SCH since 2009.  Simpson said, "I like that my job makes a difference and I can help my patients improve their quality of life."

The wide range of duties carried out by respiratory therapists has made the field an attractive option for young people and career-changers who want to get into a medical profession, and there is a growing demand for therapists nationwide as the aging baby boom generation leads to a greater need for cardiopulmonary health care services.  "Respiratory therapy is a wonderful field for anyone who enjoys science and technology and likes helping people," said Simpson.

National Respiratory Care Week, an annual event that recognizes the work of respiratory therapists (RTs) and the importance of lung health is sponsored by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC). 

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