Both registered nurses and respiratory therapists are both jobs in high demand. While you may know the daily duties of an RN, what does an RRT do on the job every day? What’s the difference, and how do you know which to consider for your long-term career goals? In this post, we want to compare and contrast the general duties of each position. If you’re not sure how you want to specialize in your career, here is a quick and easy guide for reference.

The Difference Between RN and RRT

The difference is relatively simple. Nurses assess patients from head to toe and will provide care for the patients based on the complete picture of their medical needs. A respiratory therapist, on the other hand, assesses only the cardiopulmonary status of the patients and will administer the care needed. They may work with patients who have lung conditions such as asthma or COPD or patients who are using or have used respirators in the hospital.

Patient Care

The roles, like all medical positions, come down to patient care. For some patients, the added necessity of critical respiratory care is answered when they work directly with a respiratory therapist. While a nurse may be knowledgeable in many forms of patient care, the specialization required to work with patients needed additional cardiopulmonary support will give them a greater success rate for recovery.

Giving Medicine to Patients

Both RNs and RRTs can give medication to patients based on their medical requirements. An RRT will also be trained in a variety of respiratory therapies that can help patients regain lung capacity and the strength to breathe properly.

The Patient Response

For patients who have experienced respiratory trauma or are recovering from a respiratory illness, the additional support provided by an RRT can help them recover faster. Respiratory illnesses can be life threatening, of course, but they also cause panic attacks. It’s helpful to work with a specialist in the field. If you’re deciding between a career path as an RN or an RRT, consider how you would like to interact with patients and at what level.

Are you Looking for a Career as an RN or RRT?

Call Fortus Healthcare Resources now and speak to one of our nurse recruiters, or apply online today.


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