Thursday, December 10, 2009

Respiratory Nurse: Career, Training, & Certification

Respiratory Nurse

Specializing in the treatment of those who are afflicted with lung conditions including asthma, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, tuberculosis, or respiratory failure, respiratory nurses help to promote preventative health as well. They work with patients of all ages and often will assist in educational efforts in order to promote healthy breathing and exercise techniques that can help prevent respiratory problems down the road. They will work with those patients who suffer from the ailments described above, helping them to change their lifestyles and get their health back on track. Educating about the perils of tobacco use also comes as part of the package for many respiratory nurses, as this is a big epidemic in the world today.
Salary Outlook

Salaries will depend on education, experience, and what type of health facility one works at.
Average Annual Salary

Salary Range
Work Environment
Respiratory nurses can be found in the special wards of hospitals and clinics of all sizes. They may be tied to community health clinics, and go out in the field from time to time to educate the public about the dangers of tobacco and proper breathing and exercise techniques to help the lungs stay strong and healthy. This many times involves trips to schools or nursing homes, and everywhere in between. This is a specialty role that can involve travel as well as irregular hours, for those involved with patients in critical condition.


Minimally, a respiratory nurse must be a registered nurse, holding a current license. This can be achieved through a number of different routes, including receiving an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in nursing and following it up with the proper certification. Additionally, because this is somewhat of a specialty topic, there will be a need for nursing experience and then a Master’s degree or special coursework in respiratory health is also highly desirable. The needs will change from state to state, but in general, the more education and experience, the better.
Career Outlook

Like many healthcare positions, the field of respiratory nursing is poised to grow at a phenomenal rate in the next decade. As the population ages, more and more people will fall prey to such unfortunate respiratory problems as lung cancer and cystic fibrosis, common with old age. This will help spark the demand for more and more specialists who are schooled in treating this type of problem. Growth reports have predicted anywhere from a 10-20% increase in job openings in the next five years alone.
Professional Organizations
Respiratory Nursing Society
309 E. Lee Avenue
Vinton, VA 24179
American Nurses Association
8515 Georgia Avenue
Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3492
Phone: (301) 628-5000

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