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Respiratory Therapists are regulated health care professionals who assess and manage heart and breathing issues. They are also called "RTs" or "RRTs" (Registered Respiratory Therapists). They work in close collaboration with the rest of the Medical-Surgical ICU (MSICU) team. Chris Harris, RRT, is the head of Respiratory Therapy for the MSICU. Delores Tack is the RRT responsible for day-to-day operations.
Most patients in the MSICU require some support for their breathing. This includes oxygen therapy and possibly supporting their breathing with a machine (ventilator). In order to have the machine work, a special airway or tube may have to be inserted by the physicians or the RTs. The RTs manage the ventilator in order to make sure the patient is comfortable and respiratory needs are met. RTs also set-up and maintain the heart and blood pressure monitoring and assist in transferring critically ill patients safely throughout the hospital and occasionally to other hospitals as well.
Respiratory therapists work 12 hour shifts and provide 24 hour per day coverage. Each RRT is responsible for a set of assigned patients.