Respiratory Care Week

October 25-31, 2020

By Lori Davis, Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehab and Respiratory Therapy Manager

Respiratory therapy is a specialized health care field where practitioners are trained in cardiopulmonary medicine in order to work with people suffering from heart and lung disease. With COVID-19, respiratory therapy has been thrust into the spotlight for the first time, highlighting a profession that has quietly provided essential lifesaving therapies and treatments for over 70 years!  

respiratory therapy

Tiffanie is a respiratory therapist at CMH.

The respiratory therapy profession is dedicated to patients of all ages and circumstances. Many therapists feel it’s a calling to help others in their time of need. Respiratory therapy is challenging and offers many different paths and advancement opportunities. Respiratory therapists can specialize in critical care, neonatal and pediatric care, long-term care, medical transport (surface and air), pulmonary rehab, sleep medicine, education, case management, cardiopulmonary diagnostics and home care. With continued growth in medical technology, respiratory therapists must recognize, seek understanding and rise to the challenge that technology brings to the practice of medicine.

At CMH, there are six full-time respiratory therapists, plus two others on-call, plus myself. Everyone holds a minimum of an associate’s degree, and some have their bachelor’s degree. On any given day, you will find our respiratory therapists:

  • Diagnosing lung and breathing disorders and recommending treatment methods.
  • Interviewing patients and doing chest physical exams to determine what kind of therapy is best for their condition.
  • Consulting with physicians to recommend a change in therapy, based on their evaluation of the patient.
  • Analyzing breath, tissue and blood specimens to determine levels of oxygen and other gases.
  • Managing ventilators and artificial airway devices for patients who can’t breathe normally on their own.
  • Responding to a Code Blue, Trauma or other urgent calls for care.
  • Attending a newborn delivery in the Family Birthing Center.
  • Educating patients and families about lung disease so they can maximize their recovery.

Respiratory therapists are licensed by the state and must pass a national certification exam in order to obtain a license to practice in the state of Oregon.

Thank you to my fellow respiratory therapy team members:

  • Randy Burgess
  • Debra Knapik
  • Tiffanie Young
  • Priscilla Davison
  • Gabriel Valencia
  • Megan Barrett
  • Aaron Moore
  • Jessica Spencer
Let’s slow the spread of COVID-19. Limit your exposure and know what to do, if you become ill. Learn more!