Respiratory Therapy Podcast Overview

Respiratory Therapy Podcast Overview
Respiratory Therapy Podcast Overview

Respiratory Therapy Podcast Overview

YTI Career Institute offers a Respiratory Therapy program that can be completed in as few as 20 months. It is one of the most dynamic and technology-driven career choices in healthcare, and the blended learning experience combines qualified instruction and student support with the independence and flexibility of online learning. Graduates of the program earn an Associate in Specialized Technology degree.

The president and CEO of YTI, Jim Bologa, sat down with Carl Kenyon, the program director of the Respiratory Therapy program, to ask informational questions about the program, what comes with it, and what students should expect. To listen to the full interview, check out the video on YTI's YouTube page.

Jim Bologa: What does a respiratory therapist do?

Carl Kenyon: We take care of the lungs where people are breathing difficultly which includes little tiny babies all the way up to the elderly. One of the things that we really work on a lot is COPD or diseases from smoking, and we treat those with nebulized medication. We manage ventilators for patients, also.

JB: Is there any equipment that is key or foundational for our respiratory students?

CK: Yes. The most key instrument that we have is just the basic stethoscope. We use that to listen to the lungs and the hearts of the patient. With this, we can hear breathing and bad breath sounds that indicate that the patient may need treatments or medication. Our basic line of treatment is the nebulizer with a face mask, but it can also have a mouthpiece for treatment.

JB: We have this equipment in our industry model lab in Altoona but, for our out-of-area students, this equipment would be located in a hospital or the clinical environment they would be attending.

CK: That's correct. As far as ownership, we provide them with a stethoscope and two sets of scrubs. They do their academic education online and they can take that at different locations throughout the country. Then they go to clinical which is where they get their hands-on experience with these different pieces of equipment. They do that at the hospital sites that we have agreements with where they are provided with a clinical instructor that takes them around the hospital and introduces them for very basic care. That's the way we do it in the residential course, too. We do all our academic learning and then we go to the hospital to learn how to work with this equipment.

JB: It looks like you've got stuff you want to share with us here. What else do you have with you?

CK: This is just a nebulizer with some saline in it, which is pretty much normal saline or saltwater. If a patient comes in and they have trouble breathing, we usually would listen with our stethoscopes to try and hear wheezes, and then we would consult with the doctor and they would prescribe a bronchodilator which will open up the airways.

This is the compressor that creates the mist for the nebulizer. If the patient is awake, we would give this to them which would hopefully open up their lungs and they'd get better. The ER physician might tell them to get the treatments at home and then come back to see them.

In the course of another patient, they might get this treatment, but they don't get better. If they get sleepy and can't hold the equipment in their mouth, we'll put a mask on them and they can breathe through that while they're asleep.

If the patient gets worse, they may need intensive care. They might have secretions building up in their throat and we would use a suction to stick in their mouth and upper airway to suck out secretions. If we have a clear airway and the patient continues to deteriorate, we also draw blood from the patient to measure their pH, C02, and oxygen level. If it's bad enough and they're not breathing well enough, the last course is intubation.

We have an endotracheal tube with a stylette that keeps the intubation equipment lined up. We feed this in through the upper airway, down into the trachea, and inflate this balloon. Then, with our bag, we can breathe directly into their lungs and take over their whole breathing. They can be sedated and we can apply 100% oxygen.

We can increase the positive end-expiratory pressure which is the amount of pressure left in your lungs when you're done breathing. The normal is about three without a tube, but, if we put a tube in, we can increase that up to 20 without any problems. That just pushes the oxygen gas into your lungs more efficiently. It also helps to get the C02 back out so that we can improve the patient's status.

If you're ready to get started or have more questions, visit the program description page or the online application portal.