Pursuing a career as a respiratory therapist opens a world of possibility in health care. You will have an impact on the lives of the youngest to the most senior patients. You can work in settings that focus on someone’s health over multiple years, to those that focus on mere seconds of a person’s life. While most respiratory therapists work in hospital settings throughout Canada, there are many options, from the most high-intensity settings in health care, to ones that focus on long-term outcomes, policy and research. As some of these profiles show, respiratory therapists can work in diverse places as well as in other countries.
Co-ordinator for Respiratory Education Centre at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria
Primarily, I provide out-patient education to people living with a variety of chronic lung conditions.
» More about Mark
Primarily, I provide out-patient education to people living with a variety of chronic lung conditions, most commonly asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis and various interstitial lung diseases. I see most patients one-on-one in the office, but I also facilitate the Living Well with COPD program for groups of 8 to 12 people. I also provide occasional in-services to RT and RN staff, RT and RN students, and physicians. What I like best about my role is a tough question, but it would likely be the “aha!” moment when you can really tell that someone understands something in a way they didn’t before, and that something is likely going to have a real impact in their life. Particularly with COPD, it can be a very scary diagnosis to have, so demystifying something that seems so foreboding and negative can be quite a powerful moment.
Certified respiratory educator
University Hospital of Northern British Columbia
Most of the my time is dedicated to providing respiratory education to the clients of northern BC.
» More about Nicole
I have a multitude of roles. Most of the my time is dedicated to being a certified respiratory educator, providing respiratory education to the clients of northern BC, including education in both asthma and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). I am a neonatal resuscitation program instructor as well as an acute care therapist, and at times do work in the diagnostic area doing spirometry and assist with bronchoscopies. As an educator I love empowering people with lung conditions by providing them with skills to manage their condition instead of the their lung condition managing them. Knowledge is power, and when you give them that power it can be life changing for them and rewarding for both of us. Knowing you made a difference makes me love my job even more than I already do.
Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, Trail
We care for any patient requiring airway and breathing support.
» More about Cristin
As RTs, we work as frontline staff in acute care. All members of our team also rotate through the Pulmonary Function Lab doing complete pulmonary function tests, pre and post spirometry, home oxygen assessments and respiratory education such as asthma and COPD treatment and management. Our role as RTs at KBRH is quite autonomous. We have one baseline RT on for acute care 24 hours a day, and recently have added a second RT on days for relief. The relief RT is utilized for in-house transports, and external transports with the High Acuity Response Team (HART). Unlike some more urban hospitals, RTs in KBRH have the ability to intubate and insert arterial lines. We care for any patient requiring airway and breathing support, and are always on call for high-risk deliveries in the operating room. We are part of the Critical Care Outreach Team as well as the HART program, where we are an integral part of the care team at KBRH and work alongside nurses and physicians delivering critical care as a regional resource. What I like best about my role is being a valued member of the team. I feel as RTs, we are needed in some of the most dire cases — traumas, code blues, code pinks, and rural transports to higher levels of care via HART, just to name a few.
Specialist in CPAP therapy for clients with sleep disorders
Coastal Sleep Apnea Clinic
The thing I like best about my role is seeing first hand the improvement in sleep quality for my clients and the positive impact it has on their lives.
Core ICU therapist
St. Paul's Hospital Intensive Care Unit in Vancouver
I am stationed in ICU all of the time as opposed to rotating through the other areas of the hospital.
» More about Ryan
I am a core intensive care unit therapist, meaning that I am stationed in ICU all of the time as opposed to rotating through the other areas of the hospital. This gives me the opportunity to provide continuity of care for some of our longer term patients, act as a staff resource for the procedures which we perform and assist with, and work closely with other members of the ICU multidisciplinary team to coordinate patient care. Even after many years of working in the field, there is always something interesting happening in the ICU. Each day brings new challenges and learning opportunities. I never get the feeling that I have seen it all. As an RT in ICU, I love using creative problem solving to manage the complex interaction between patient and machine.
Vancouver General Hospital permanent frontline charge
First of all, I get to see a patient transition through the whole system.
» More about Taryn
First of all, I get to see a patient transition through the whole system. I carry a trauma pager and respond when they get to emergency and continue helping them through the ICU, the wards and on to rehab at GFS or to discharge planning for home or to transition to long-term care at George Pearson centre. Seeing how much an RT contributes to this patient's and family's road to wellness is an incredible feeling of success. Secondly, I absolutely love mentoring new respiratory therapists from their student rotation right through to being senior RTs on our staff. Having created a respiratory therapy mentorship program, I am so proud each time a RT tells me that they remember when I supported them and led them to success in their career.
Clinical Site Coordinator for TRU respiratory therapy program
Surrey Memorial Hospital
Having an impact on the careers and lives of the future RTs of BC is the most rewarding part of my role.
» More about Kiran
Having an impact on the careers and lives of the future RTs of BC is the most rewarding part of my role. Ensuring that my students are equipped with the necessary skills to have successful career trajectories and being a positive influence in their lives has been an invaluable experience for me.
Respiratory therapy educator | Greenfield Children's and Women's Hospital, Doha, Qatar
The best part about my role is working with many different people from many different countries. I have learned many new things about people and culture.
BC Women’s Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
The thing I like best about my role is using my skills every day to help babies breathe a little easier and being able to watch them grow right before my eyes.
Manager Intensive Care Unit, Step-Down Unit and High Acuity Response Team at Royal Inland Hospital
I am incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to support the critical care teams at RIH.
» More about Matthew
I am incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to support the critical care teams at RIH. I truly enjoy working with the people here and helping ensure they have what they need to continue providing the exceptionally high level of care they are every day. High Acuity Response Team is an amazing team which has a massive impact on rural sites by providing them with a skilled team (registered nurse, respiratory therapist and advanced care aide) quickly when critically ill patients arrive. This helps stabilize the patient earlier and ensures they are safe for transport. If this team didn’t exist, physicians would have to leave rural sites to support the patient’s transport which would likely result in those rural sites emergency departments having to close.
BC Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
The thing I like best about my role is the ability to apply both critical thinking and creativity to patient care and management.
Regional Director for BC and Alberta
VitalAire Canada Inc.
I am responsible for operations which employ 200 staff members, 60 of which are RTs.
» More about Scott
I am responsible for operations which employ 200 staff members, 60 of which are RTs. I oversee all aspects of the Home Healthcare business line for VitalAire Canada, including Home Oxygen, 30-CPAP clinic locations and medical device sales in primary care. What I enjoy most about my role is being able to work in a senior leadership position within a multinational company that is focused on respiratory care, which serves a vulnerable population. Being a senior leader with a clinical background is a unique position in most private companies, bringing a valuable clinical insight to business decisions. My clinical background enables me to fully understand the home healthcare clinical environment and continue to develop long term strategies to meet the needs of our patient population and the RTs we employ.