Physical Demands

Main Content Start

Physical Demands


As a Respiratory Therapist (RT), your job may demand the following: 

  • Administer respiratory therapy care and life support to patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of cardiopulmonary system.

  • Communicate under stress, lift disabled patients, and work on your feet for long periods of time. 

  • Under supervision of physician: Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition and determine requirements for treatment, such as type and duration of therapy, and medication and dosages.

  • Determine most suitable method of administering inhalants, precautions to be observed, and modifications which may be needed that will be compatible with physician's orders.

  • Set up and operate devices, such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, and aerosol generators.

  • Operate equipment to ensure specified parameters of treatment, such as volume, gas concentration, humidity, and temperature and to administer medical gases and aerosol drugs to patients, monitor patent's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, and blood chemistry changes.

  • Perform bronchopulmonary drainage and assists patient in performing breathing exercises, perform pulmonary function tests to be used by physician in diagnosis of case, and observe equipment function and adjusts equipment to obtain optimum results to therapy.  

  • Consult with physician in event of adverse reactions, maintain patent's chart that contains pertinent identification and therapy information.  

  • Inspect and test respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, order repairs when needed, and demonstrate respiratory care procedures to trainees and other health care personnel.

Essential Functions: In order to successfully perform the job of an RT, the following physical demands are required (defined by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Classification of Jobs, 1992):

Frequently (activity or condition exist from 1/3 to 2/3 of the time):

  • Stooping
  • Crouching
  • Reaching
  • Performing small task with fingers
  • Talking accommodation
  • Kneeling
  • Handling
  • Feeling
  • Hearing
  • Near acuity

Occasionally (activity or condition exists up to 1/3 of the time):

  • Climbing
  • Field of vision
  • Crawling
  • Color vision