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Respiratory Therapists Enter the Spotlight During National Respiratory Care Week 

Dallas, TX (October 15, 2010) National Respiratory Care Week, an annual event that recognizes the work of respiratory therapists (RTs) and the importance of lung health, is set for October 24-30, 2010 and is sponsored by the American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC).

People who are lucky enough to take breathing for granted may have never even heard of a “respiratory therapist.” But for those with asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, and other conditions, “RTs,” as they are know for short, are key to breathing easier. National Respiratory Care Week is a great time for everyone to learn more about these vital health care professionals.

“Respiratory therapists work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, home care settings, and doctor's offices to assist physicians in caring for their patients with pulmonary problems,” says Tim Myers, AARC President. “You'll find us managing ventilators in the ICU, performing the pulmonary function tests that are used to diagnose lung disease, and delivering respiratory care throughout hospitals and in the emergency department.”

RTs also spend time educating chronic lung disease patients about their conditions and the medications used to treat them so they will be better able to stay at home and out of the hospital, and they work in pulmonary rehabilitation programs to help people regain some of their lost functioning. 

The field is full of great job opportunities as well. “The Bureau of Labor Statistics says employment of RTs is expected to grow at a much faster pace than the average for all occupations, increasing by 21% between 2008 and 2018,” continues Myers. Entry into the profession requires a degree from a two year college program, although many RTs also hold bachelor's degrees or above.

To learn more about careers in respiratory care, visit the AARC's website at http://www.aarc.org/career.


Media Advisory

Call your local hospital and ask for the Director of Respiratory Care. They can tell you more about lung disease and the work of the respiratory therapist.

Be aware of these other special dates and projects that are also upcoming and may provide you with news opportunities for which a respiratory therapist could be made available.

DRIVE4COPD Campaign (www.aarc.org/drive4copd)

A national campaign sponsored by NASCAR and others to screen people for COPD risk 

November – National COPD Month (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/lung/copd/)

This month is celebrated in the U.S. in order to raise awareness of Chronic Obstruction Pulmonary Disease, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

November 18 – World COPD Day (http://www.goldcopd.com/)

A day to raise awareness around the World.

Year of the Lung (http://www.aarc.org/headlines/10/04/year_of_the_lung/)

This has been a year-long focus on building awareness of lung health.

About the AARC

The American Association for Respiratory Care, headquartered in Dallas, is a professional association of respiratory therapists that focuses primarily on respiratory therapy education and research. The organization's goals are to ensure that respiratory patients receive safe and effective care from qualified professionals as well as supporting respiratory health care providers. The association continues to advocate on behalf of pulmonary patients for appropriate access to respiratory services provided by qualified professionals. Further information about the AARC and how to become a respiratory therapist are available at www.AARC.org .