Respiratory Care Practitioners Certification Program About the Profession-Overview

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Respiratory Care is the treatment, management, control, diagnostic evaluation, and care of inpatients or outpatients who have deficiencies and abnormalities associated with the cardiorespiratory system. Respiratory care does not include the delivery, assembly, set up, testing, and demonstration of respiratory care equipment upon the order of a licensed physician. Demonstration is not to be interpreted here as the actual patient assessment and education, administration, or performance of the respiratory care procedure(s).


Respiratory care practitioner (RCP)--A person permitted or certified under the Act to practice respiratory care.

Respiratory care procedure--Respiratory care provided by the therapeutic and diagnostic use of medical gases, humidifiers, and aerosols, the administration of drugs and medications to the cardiorespiratory system, ventilatory assistance and ventilatory control, postural drainage, chest drainage, chest percussion or vibration, breathing exercises, respiratory rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, maintenance of natural airways, and the insertion and maintenance of artificial airways. The term includes a technique employed to assist in diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, and research, including the measurement of ventilatory volumes, pressures and flows, the specimen collection of blood and other materials, pulmonary function testing, and hemodynamic and other related physiological forms of monitoring or treating, as ordered by the patient's physician, the cardiorespiratory system. These procedures include:

  • Administration of medical gases - such as nitric oxide, helium and carbon dioxide;
  • Providing ventilatory assistance and ventilatory control - including high frequency oscillatory ventilation and high frequency jet ventilation;
  • Providing artificial airways - including insertion, maintenance and removal;
  • Performing pulmonary function testing - including neonatal and pediatric studies;
  • Hhyperbaric oxygen therapy;
  • Monitoring - including pulse oximeter, end-tidal carbon dioxide and apnea monitoring;
  • Extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO);
  • Ppatient assessment, respiratory patient care planning; and
  • Implementation of respiratory care protocols.

Respiratory therapist--A person permitted or certified under the Act to practice respiratory care.

Temporary permit--A permit issued in accordance with §123.7(d) of this title (relating to Types of Certificates, Temporary Permits, and Applicant Eligibility) for a period of six months.

Therapeutic--Of or relating to the treatment of disorders by remedial agents or methods.

Under the direction--Assuring that established policies are carried out; monitoring and evaluating the quality, safety, and appropriateness of respiratory care services and taking action based on findings; and providing consultation whenever required, particularly on patients receiving continuous ventilatory or oxygenation support.

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Last updated April 17, 2010
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    Respiratory Care Practitioners Certification Program