Respiratory Therapy

Contact Information

If you have questions about this website or need additional information about Respiratory Therapy, contact Rusty Taylor at 785-670-2172. Or you can contact the Allied Health Department at 785-670-2170 or 785-670-2176.

Email the Program DirectorEmail the Allied Health Department

Technical Standards

Technical Standards


The technical standards have been established through consideration by faculty and consultation with the following sources: The Vocational Rehabilitation Act; The Americans with Disabilities Act; Guide for Occupational Information; Dictionary of Occupational Titles; and the Occupational Skills Standards Project from the National Health Care Skills Standards Projects.

Physical Demands:
Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to display the medium strength rating, as described by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which reflects the ability to exert 20 to 50 pounds of force occasionally (occasionally: activity or condition exists up to 1/3 of the time), and/or 10 to 25 pounds of force frequently (frequently: activity or condition exists from 1/3 to 2/3 of the time), and/or greater than negligible up to 10 pounds of force constantly (constantly: activity or condition exists 2/3 or more of the time) to move objects.

For Example:
Lifting Requirements:     Up to 7 lbs. 50-75% of the time.
                                           20-40 lbs. 0-25% of the time.

Pushing Requirements: 50-100 lbs. 0-25% of the time.

Will need to assist with moving & lifting patients who may weigh up to 250 lbs. 0-30% of the time.

Average percent of the time during regular shift devoted to:
Standing 50%, walking 25%, squatting 0%, sitting 25%, bending 25%, reaching 50%, driving 0%, kneeling 0%, climbing 0%, crawling 0%.

Will need to grasp objects with both hands, pinch with thumb and forefinger when working with dials and equipment and turn with hand and arm. Will need to be able to coordinate two or more physical operations simultaneously. Job duties also require the ability to use machinery, tools, and special pieces of equipment.

Motor Skills:

Must possess sufficient motor function to elicit information from patients by palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other evaluation procedures. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to execute motor movements including the physical/dexterity strength to stand and ambulate and possess the physical/dexterity strength to lift and transfer patients. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must also have the physical strength to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Respiratory therapy procedures require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movements, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch and vision. For this reason, candidates for admission to, and continuation in the Program of Respiratory Therapy must have manual dexterity and the ability to engage in procedures involving grasping, pushing, pulling, holding, manipulating, extending and rotating.

For example:
Dexterity: Adequate to perform the essential functions of the job such as code blue procedure, feeling of pulse with finger tips required for routine taking of pulse, using pen, pencil, computer equipment and calculator, calibrating and adjusting equipment, etc.


Sensory/Observational Skills:

Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to observe demonstrations and participate in laboratory experiments as required in the curriculum. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to observe patients and be able to obtain an appropriate medical history directly from the patient or guardian. Such observation require the functional use of vision, hearing, and other sensory modalities. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must have visual perception which includes depth and acuity.

For example:
Visual, Hearing, Dexterity Demands and Mental Demands:

Vision: Adequate to perform the essential functions of the job, such as reading policy and procedure manuals, instructions, charts, texts, memos, forms, computer screens, dials, calibrating/adjusting equipment, etc.

Hearing: Adequate to perform the essential functions of the job such as auscultation, listen to overhead pages and beepers listening to instructions conducting conversations over the phone, etc.

Communication Skills:

Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to communicate in English effectively and sensitively with patients. In addition, candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to communicate in English in oral and hand written form with faculty, allied personnel, and peers in the classroom, laboratory, and clinical settings. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must also be sensitive to multicultural and multilingual needs. Such communication skills include not only speech, but reading and writing in English. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must have the ability to complete reading assignments and search and evaluate the literature. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to complete written assignments and maintain written records. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must have the ability to complete assessment exercises. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must also have the ability to use therapeutic communication, such as attending, clarifying, coaching, facilitating, and touching. These skills must be performed in clinical settings, as well as the didactic and laboratory environments.

For example: Speaking: Adequate to perform the essential functions of the job such as reporting on patients, communicating with patients, physicians, & staff, conducting phone conversations, etc.

Intellectual/Conceptual, Integrative, and Qualitative Skills:

Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must have the ability to measure, calculate, reason, analyze, and synthesize data. Problem solving and diagnosis, including obtaining, interpreting, and documenting data, are critical skills demanded of respiratory therapists which require all of these intellectual abilities. These skills allow students to make proper assessments, sound judgments, appropriately prioritize therapeutic interventions, and measure and record patient care outcomes. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must have the ability to learn to use computers for searching, recording, storing, and retrieving information.

For example:
Mental Demands: Adequate to perform the essential functions of the job such as problem solving skills, cognitive reasoning, communication skills, attention to detail, logical thought processes, etc.

Behavioral/Social Skills and Professionalism: 

Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must demonstrate attributes of empathy, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interest, and motivation. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must possess the emotional well being required for use of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of sound judgment, the prompt completion of all responsibilities attendant to the evaluation and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to adapt to ever changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties and stresses which are inherent in the educational process, as well as the clinical problems of many patients.

Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must be able to maintain professional conduct and appearance, maintain client confidentiality and operate within the scope of practice. Candidates/current respiratory therapy students must also have the ability to be assertive, delegate responsibilities appropriately, and function as part of a medical team. Such abilities require organizational skills necessary to meet deadlines and manage time.

Working Conditions (in general): 

Works inside throughout the hospital with varying lighting levels. May be required to be outside for a short period 1% of the time. Required to be in the same room where x-rays or CAT scans are being performed 1% of the time. Works with patients who have contagious diseases. Works with electrical equipment 45% of the time and oxygen 50% of the time. Works dressed in mask (surgical and hepa-filter), gown and/or gloves 80% of the time.

Hazardous Material Exposure: Major actual and/or potential exposure, such as working with chemicals such as Phenolic & Gluteraldehyde and working near or around radioactive Isotope and/or scattered radiation.

Blood/Body Fluid Exposure: Position duties require exposure to blood and body fluids.

The above is intended to describe the key results and requirements for the performance of this job. It is not to be construed as an exhaustive statement of duties, responsibilities or requirements. Respiratory Therapy students may be required to perform other related duties and activities.