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RTs perform in all aspects of health care

by Mary Helen Yarborough

Public Relations
Respiratory Care Week (oct. 19 - 25) celebrates respiratory therapists who work in virtually every facet of critical care helping people breath, survive and thrive.
Anna Bunao, a registered respiratory therapist working in the MICU, provides nebulized medication treatment to Maribel Wilkes of Summerville. The therapy will help Wilkes, who suffers from lung disease and pneumonia, excrete fluid from her lungs and breathe more easily. (Wilkes was moved to a regular room after a series of RT treatments.)

“We are everywhere, from the neonatal ICU to the skilled nursing facility,” said Donna Bolus, manager of adult respiratory therapy. “You can find us in home health, the sleep lab, pulmonary function lab, bronchoscopy-PICC lab, pulmonary rehabilitation, clinics, emergency departments, Ashley River Tower, the adult care in the university hospital, and the Children’s Hospital; just to name a few.”
In the Cystic Fibrosis Center, RTs work with patients from infancy to adulthood.
 Respiratory therapists also are involved in patient and staff education.
“We are actively engaged with education on all fronts,” said PCICU RT Barbara Hutchison. “We have a tracheotomy care team, and we utilize assessors to evaluate and suggest treatment options.”
Many of the specialized therapists have passed rigorous national testing in their specialties, Hutchison added. In addition, MUSC has three certified asthma educators on the RT department staff, as well as many certified neonatal/pediatric specialists.
The department also provides a pulmonary rehabilitation program and is actively involved in the South Carolina Society of Respiratory Care, American Association of Respiratory Care and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
  Respiratory Care Week also is a time to highlight respiratory as a career choice. Individuals interested in pursuing respiratory science can contact the respiratory care program at Trident Technical College, Hutchison said.


Friday, Oct. 24, 2008

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.