Definition of Respiratory Care

Respiratory Care is the health care discipline that specializes in the promotion of optimum cardiopulmonary function and health. Respiratory Therapists employ scientific principles to identify, treat and prevent acute or chronic dysfunction of the cardiopulmonary system. Knowledge and understanding of the scientific principles underlying cardiopulmonary physiology and pathophysiology, as well as biomedical engineering and technology, enable respiratory therapists to provide patient care services effectively.

As a health care profession, Respiratory Care is practiced under medical direction across the health care continuum. Critical thinking, patient/environment assessment skills, and evidence-based clinical practice guidelines enable respiratory therapists to develop and implement effective care plans, patient-driven protocols, disease-based clinical pathways, and disease management programs. A variety of venues serve as the practice site for this health care profession including, but not limited to:

Effective 12/99
Revised 12/06
Revised 07/09