Respiratory Therapist: An Informational Interview Report

[Thanks to Taryn for sharing her informational interview report on how to become a respiratory therapist and related career information.]


For the Informational Interview I decided to interview one of my friend’s mom from school. He had told me that she is a Respiratory Therapist and I automatically knew she was someone that I would like to talk to, even before the class. I had asked my friend if he could ask his mom if she would mind talking to me on the phone for a few minutes so I could ask her questions about being a Respiratory Therapist, which she had no problem with. I had asked her to select a date and time to schedule the interview, which was in early May.

During the interview, I asked her a series of questions pertaining to her job. One of the first questions I asked was what she did on a typical day and what her responsibilities are. She laughed when I asked her this question and told me that there is never a typical day as a Respiratory Therapist. Working in the emergency room, your day may be fairly light with less severe cases. These can include patients who may have had an asthma attack, heart attack or stroke. On other days however, you will respond to patients who have received near fatal injuries and might have a collapsed lung. Furthermore, she is also one of the first people called to assist a doctor with a patient who has suffered a head injury or drug poisoning. Her responsibilities include, but are not limited to, intubating a patient, inserting a check tube, managing ventilators, blood gas measurements, administering medicine, and inserting an IV.

I also asked her what the employment prospects were for someone entering the field of Respiratory Therapy. She believes that there is a great demand for Respiratory Therapists and believes that the hospital she works for (a big city hospital) is always looking for well educated additions to their team. She also believes that her job is very secure, mainly because she has been working for the same hospital for over 20 years and doesn’t experience too many layoffs. She also included that she doesn’t see too many people quite because they do not like the field or their place of employment.

Some of the information that I discussed with her was not new to me because I had previously done a lot of research on Respiratory Therapy. I was aware of their duties, responsibilities and who they commonly work for but was unaware of the extent that they are involved in the patients care.

My interviewee stressed to me that although they are technically under a doctor’s supervision and simply follow recommendations, they call the shots most of the time. She told me that if I go through the program at my local community college I must give the work my full and undivided attention. I will need every piece of information that they are willing to share because it will have a great effect on someone’s health when I am working in the field.

I really enjoyed interviewing this individual, and although I have never met her I hope I will some day. She had a lot of great stories about what she has seen in the hospital and what she has experienced. I hope to have the feeling it gives her when I work in the field – feeling of accomplishment, pride and knowing that you have helped not only to save people’s lives but to make it a little more comfortable for them.

From what I gathered from her, I am doing all of the necessary steps to become a Respiratory Therapist. I just need to continue doing well in school and stay determined.

Overall, I felt that the interview was very helpful because it gave me a firsthand perspective of the field. There is only so much you can read about a job, the best way to learn about it is to go out and ask. The following Monday I sent a thank you card. I expressed to my interviewee how grateful I was that she was willing to take time out of her day to talk to me. I also stated how knowledgeable she was with the field and it is great to know that there are passionate, dedicated health care professionals out there.


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