The Respiratory Therapy Program’s mission is to train effective and competent respiratory care practitioners. The curriculum is designed to prepare the graduate of the program to take a leadership role in all the different clinical settings where respiratory therapy is practiced.
The Respiratory Therapy Program is one of only two baccalaureate programs in Alabama dedicated to training future respiratory care practitioners (RCP). Graduates of the program are prepared to take leadership roles in all clinical settings where respiratory therapy is practiced.
The practice of respiratory care requires therapists to:
- administer many medical gases and cardiorespiratory drugs;
- help diagnose and treat patients with disorders associated with the respiratory and cardiovascular systems;
- act as technical resources for both physicians and other health care professionals;
- monitor patients and often assist in the development of the respiratory care plan;
- evaluate the results of diagnostic tests such as arterial blood gases and pulmonary function studies;
- perform maintenance of mechanical ventilation for critically ill patients; and
- assist physicians with procedures such as bronchoscopies, arterial cannula insertions, and heart catheterizations.
Therapists work in a variety of settings including:
- intensive care units, where they treat critically ill infants, children, or adults;
- general care areas of the hospital giving basic respiratory care;
- diagnostic laboratories performing pulmonary function tests, cardiovascular studies, and some neurological diagnostic procedures;
- nursing homes, clinics, and patient homes;
- administration; and