Is Respiratory Care for Me?

Respiratory Care Students must demonstrate many competencies representing all three learning domains: the cognitive, psychomotor and affective domains. Students actively participate to learn, practice, and verify these competencies in a number of settings including the classroom, laboratory and clinic (hospitals).

To achieve and master the required competencies in the classroom setting, Respiratory Care students must be aware that information is gained in many ways. They perceive, assimilate and integrate information from a variety of these sources. The sources include oral instruction, printed material, visual media, and live demonstrations. Student must participate in classroom discussions, give oral reports, and pass written and computer-based examinations of various formats. Completion of these tasks requires skills, such as reading, writing and problem-solving. To be physically capable of the classroom work, the student must, be able to: hear, see, speak, sit and touch. Additionally, in order to be successful students must read assignments and attend classes, in all settings.

Respiratory care laboratories provide the student with the opportunity to view demonstrations, evaluate and practice with medical devices and perform simulated clinical procedures. In addition to the cognitive skills required in the classroom, students must demonstrate psychomotor skills in manipulating patients and equipment, as well as general professional behaviors, like team-building and interpersonal communications. To satisfy laboratory requirement, students must perform all procedures without critical error. This requires high levels of function. In addition to the physical capabilities for classroom equipment, students must be able to stand while using both hands to perform procedures, perform fine motor skills, and perform procedures requiring considerable strength. Examples of the latter procedures include: turning and moving patient, endotracheal intubations and cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The clinical education in Respiratory Care involves the application of skills acquired in the classroom and laboratory settings to actual patients in the clinical setting. In addition to the knowledge and skills required in those settings, students must now demonstrate skills in patient assessment, clinical reasoning and problem solving, devise patient care plans, and troubleshooting equipment. Professional behaviors required for clinical training include constructive responses to situations involving emergencies, deaths, stress, frustrating situations and the many complex interactions with other members of the health care team. Students must also demonstrate respect and empathy, responsibility, efficiency, integrity, and initiative. In addition to the physical capabilities required during the classroom and laboratory sessions, clinical training includes moving briskly between patient care areas and meeting the mental and physical demands of long hours. Most of the clinical training occurs during the day shift, but several weeks during the year may be during evening or night shifts. To allow the student to make necessary arrangements, clinical schedules are posted well in advance.