||Respiratory Care is the health care discipline that specializes in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health. Respiratory Therapists apply scientific principles to prevent, identify, and treat acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. Knowledge of the scientific principles underlying cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, as well as biomedical engineering and technology, enable respiratory therapists to effectively offer preventative care to, as well as assess, educate, and treat patients with cardiopulmonary deficiencies.
As a health care profession, Respiratory Care is practiced under medical direction across the health care continuum. Critical thinking, patient/environment assessment skills, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines enable respiratory therapists to develop and implement effective care plans, patient-driven protocols, disease-based clinical pathways, and disease management programs. A variety of venues serve as the practice site for this health care profession including, but not limited to: acute care hospitals, sleep disorder centers and diagnostic laboratories, rehabilitation, research and skilled nursing facilities, patients’ homes, patient transport systems, physician offices, convalescent and retirement centers, educational institutions, field representatives and wellness centers.