What Does It Take to be a Respiratory Therapist?

Respiratory therapists play a very important role in both nursing and medicine. They make use of a wide variety of diagnostic procedures to care for all kinds of patients from infants to the very old, in several different settings.

As such, they are required to develop certain skills and have vast knowledge on how to perform complex procedures. The delicate nature of respiratory therapy also demands that the therapist possesses the following personal traits.


Part of the profession means working with patients undergoing treatment for often frightening and life-threatening diseases. The therapist is charged with keeping their emotions calm and in check.

The first step in offering emotional and psychological support is to have some understanding of what the patient is going through. This goes a long way in treating the patients.

Critical Thinking

Respiratory therapy is filled with situations that test one’s decision making and critical thinking skills. For example, in situations of trauma or emergencies, the therapist should be ready to make quick decisions without second-guessing and solve the problems.

On top of their many responsibilities, a respiratory therapist may be called upon to act as the clinical resource to a physician. The ability to make decisions fast by thinking critically and providing rapid assessments and appropriate treatment recommendations is essential. If you want to learn more about what’s expected of respiratory therapists, you can visit bestrespiratorytherapyprograms.com.


This profession demands a lot of integrity and honesty. Honesty is mostly a matter of being straightforward with the patients and other medical practitioners. However, in the case of a respiratory therapist, it also means having enough self-knowledge to recognize and accept an impartial view of both positive and negative traits in his character and personality.

Communication Skills

Excellent communication skills are very important in this profession. Respiratory therapists spend a lot of their time communicating. It can be to patients, to their fellow practitioners, or to families of the patients.

This demands that they have exceptional communication skills. They should be able to communicate simple and complex procedures to patients while making them feel at ease. The long periods of time that they often spend working with patients require extraordinary patience.

Attention to Detail

As aforementioned, respiratory therapy is a wide profession that uses a large number of treatments and medication to treat a number of ailments. As such, the therapist should be detail-oriented, thorough, organized, and meticulous to manage each and every treatment. This prevents mistakenly administering treatment to the wrong patient, for instance.


In general, being a respiratory therapist means having to work with patients who have life-threatening conditions. Since the profession requires that one be truthful and honest, it is of paramount importance to be optimistic.

An optimistic outlook and a resilient belief in the chance of getting better coupled with honesty help the patient feel and get better.


Being such an important member of the medical team, these skills should not be ignored if you want to succeed as a respiratory therapist. If you don’t possess some of these traits, know that they can always be developed with the proper dedication.

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