TRU Science

RTs at Work

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.

Matthew Stubbings

Matthew Stubbings

Manager Intensive Care Unit, Step-Down Unit and High Acuity Response Team | Royal Inland Hospital

I am incredibly lucky to have an opportunity to support the critical care teams at RIH.
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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.

Jonathan To

Jonathan To

Respiratory therapist | 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.

Cassie Robertson

Cassie Robertson

Respiratory therapist | 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.

Ray Huang

Ray Huang

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.

Taryn Millway

Taryn Millway

Respiratory therapist | Vancouver General Hospital permanent frontline charge

First of all, I get to see a patient transition through the whole system.
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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.

Ryan Hughes

Ryan Hughes

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.
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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.

Nicole Hamel

Nicole Hamel

Certified respiratory educator | University Hospital of Northern British Columbia, Prince George

Most of the my time is dedicated to providing respiratory education to the clients of northern BC.
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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.

Cristin Horkoff

Cristin Horkoff

Respiratory therapist | Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital, Trail

We care for any patient requiring airway and breathing support.
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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.