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Respiratory Therapist

David Job

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The person…

David Job has worked as a Registered Respiratory Therapist at Bartlett Hospital in Juneau for the past 24 years. Originally from Iowa, David traveled to Alaska in 1983 and fell in love with the state. He especially liked Southeast Alaska and was thrilled to find a job in Juneau at the local hospital.

David has always been interested in the health care field. While working as a physical therapy aide in Iowa, he became interested in respiratory therapy. A team of Respiratory Therapists worked across the hall and he was intrigued by all the equipment they used for their jobs.

When David is not at work, he enjoys outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking, and kayaking. It’s one of the reasons he loves living and working in Juneau—the environment enables him to pursue an active outdoor lifestyle. David is also an avid outdoor photographer and a member of the local photography club.

The job…

One aspect David loves about his job is being able to work with patients in a small hospital. He likes being able to follow a patient from the ER to the intensive care unit to the medical care unit. He notes that, in a larger hospital, a Respiratory Therapist may not have the opportunity to follow a patient through the whole process.

David usually begins his day with first rounds. This involves routine floor care with patients in the intensive care unit. He might work with these patients using treadmills, breathing devices, and medicated nebulizers. Other parts of his day are spent doing billing paperwork and repeating the floor care therapy, as needed.

David has a flexible schedule at Bartlett Hospital. He normally works three 12 hour days each week. He also works on-call many nights, since the hospital does not have a Respiratory Therapist on regular night shift duty. He shares the on-call duty with two other Respiratory Therapists.

One of the most challenging and exciting parts of David’s job is never knowing what might happen on any given day. A day might start out slow, but then a trauma victim (e.g., from a car accident) might come in and things begin to happen quickly. The work flow is not a given each day; you have to be flexible.

Advice to students…

David recommends that high school students interested in Respiratory Therapy get a good science background. He also advises professionals who are just beginning as Respiratory Therapists remember that they will not have all the knowledge in the beginning, but they will learn a lot on the job as the years go by.

This page was last updated by Janice Troyer on January 16, 2007

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