BS in Respiratory Therapy in the Philippines

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Program Overview

Bachelor of Science in Respiratory Therapy (BSRT) is a four year degree program that provides students with an intensive foundation in evaluating, treating and caring for patients with cardiopulmonary disorders. Students are trained to perform diagnostic and therapeutic respiratory care procedures such as arterial blood gas, spirometry, oxygenation and mechanical ventilation interventions for patients.

The BSRT program teaches students to be well versed in the pathophysiology of pulmonary and related diseases so that they will be able to take care of patients appropriately. In addition, the program will focus on the promotion of cardiopulmonary wellness, disease prevention and management, and education of the patient, family and community. The students will also be involved in life support activities and emergency care.

Subjects and Curriculum

The subjects in the BSRT curriculum are divided into the following categories:
  • General Education Subjects
    • Language and Humanities: English, Filipino, Philosophy, Logic, Literature
    • Mathematics, Natural Science and Information Technology: Mathematics, Basic Statistics, Natural Science with STS, Chemistry, Physics, Biochemistry, Basic Computer Concepts
    • Social Sciences: General Psychology, General Anthropology/Sociology
    • General Health Science Education Curriculum: Human Anatomy & Physiology, Health Care, Medical Terminology, Health Economics
    • Mandated Subjects: Rizal Life Works and Writings, Philippine History and Constitution
  • Professional Education Subjects
    Cardiopulmonary Anatomy & Pathophysiology, Neuromuscular Anatomy & Pathophysiology, Fundamentals of Respiratory Therapy, Patient Assessment, Principles of Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Airway Management & Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, Pharmacology, Principles of Neonatal/Pediatric Respiratory Care, Principles of Pulmonary Physiology in the ICU, Mechanical Ventilation, Ventilation & Gas Exchange Monitoring, Microbiology, Test of Pulmonary Function & Structure, ICU Crisis Management, Management & Health Care Ethics, Advanced Mechanical Ventilation, Hemodynamic Monitoring, Teaching in HealthCare Setting
  • Seminar
    Respiratory Care Seminar 1 and 2
  • Clinical Internship
    Clinical Education 1 and 2

The lessons in the BSRT program are taught to students through classroom lectures, small group discussions and laboratory work. After each discussion, clinical instructors will demonstrate important procedures to students after which they are allowed to practice. Once the practice time is done, students will perform return demonstrations on the different procedures. Students are graded according to a performance rating scale.

During the fourth year, students must complete a clinical internship. This is a supervised clinical experience in hospitals and medical centers.

Aside from the clinical internship, students will also be exposed to hospital, rehabilitation and home visits. The purpose of this activity is to provide students a general perspective of the work involved when practicing Respiratory Therapy.

Is Respiratory Therapy a profession?

Respiratory Therapy is a profession.
A graduate of BSRT who passes the Respiratory Therapist Licensure Examination is called a Registered Respiratory Therapist or Respiratory Therapist Registered in the Philippines (RTRP).

The responsibilities of a Respiratory Therapist include:
  • Set up and operate devices such as mechanical ventilators, therapeutic gas administration apparatus, environmental control systems, and aerosol generators, following specified parameters of treatment.
  • Provide emergency care, including artificial respiration, external cardiac massage and assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
  • Determine requirements for treatment, such as type, method and duration of therapy, precautions to be taken, and medication and dosages, compatible with physicians' orders.
  • Monitor patient's physiological responses to therapy, such as vital signs, arterial blood gases, and blood chemistry changes, and consult with physician if adverse reactions occur.
  • Read prescription, measure arterial blood gases, and review patient information to assess patient condition.
  • Inspect, clean, test and maintain respiratory therapy equipment to ensure equipment is functioning safely and efficiently, ordering repairs when necessary.
  • Educate patients and their families about their conditions and teach appropriate disease management techniques, such as breathing exercises and the use of medications and respiratory equipment.
  • Explain treatment procedures to patients to gain cooperation and allay fears.
  • Perform bronchopulmonary drainage and assist or instruct patients in performance of breathing exercises.
  • Use a variety of testing techniques to assist doctors in cardiac and pulmonary research and to diagnose disorders.
  • Conduct tests, such as electrocardiograms, stress testing, and lung capacity tests, to evaluate patients' cardiopulmonary functions.

Admission requirements for the BS in Respiratory Therapy program?

Requirements at each school may differ, but are generally the basic college admission requirements:
  • Must be a high school graduate.
    Those who did not complete high school education may opt to first attend Alternative Learning System (ALS) and pass the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) to qualify for college. However, some universities only offer selected courses for PEPT passers
  • College entrance exam: must pass the College entrance examination with a specified rating set by the school.
  • Interview: must pass the interview conducted by the college.

What skills, traits and attitude will help you succeed in this course?

  • Clinical Efficiency – the ability to execute appropriate patient care while performing diagnostic procedures taking into consideration different medical conditions/diseases among patients.
  • Patient Care Skills – the ability to understand and take care of patients from all ages and walks of life; involves empathy, compassion and the sincere desire to help the sick.
  • Observation skills – ability to demonstrate skills in observation. In particular, a student must be able to accurately observe a patient and acquire visual, auditory and tactile information.
  • Technical Skills – the ability to learn, operate and control properly and safely an extensive range of diagnostic imaging equipment used in the field.
  • Scientifically inclined – has wide knowledge about science and is able to understand and connect certain concepts together; very essential because BSRT is a science based program.
  • Communication skills – ability to speak, hear and observe patients and coherently summarize a patient's condition and management plan, verbally and in writing; ability to communicate effectively and sensitively with patients, families, employees and other health-care practitioners
  • Excellent people skills – in your clinical practicum you will be providing care for agitated patients with different backgrounds. You should be able to put people at their ease, gain their confidence and deal sympathetically with their problems and fears.
  • Analytical skills – the ability to understand complex medical situations, create connections among different clinical manifestations and make sensible decisions to implement plan of care
  • Basic Mathematical skills – part of the job is the need to mix the right doses of chemicals used in diagnostic procedures as well as the proper calculation of medicines and drugs, the ability to calculate is very important to avoid mistakes.

How difficult is BS Respiratory Therapy?

BS in Respiratory Therapy is considered a difficult program. BS in Respiratory Therapy requires a great deal from students. They are required to submit assignments, projects, case analysis studies and more.

Aside from the heavy curriculum, this program is highly technical. You have to learn how to use a wide variety of medical instruments and equipment.

The clinical internship is more difficult than what students think, it requires not only the completion of the number of hours but students also need to complete specific procedures. To be able to adequately care for different patients you have to study and master all cardiopulmonary disorders, how they develop and how they affect other body systems. Diligence and focus is highly demanded from students of this course.

How long does it take to complete the BSRT program in the Philippines?

The BSRT program takes four years to complete (Note: this may change due to the K-12 integration). The program may be completed in less than 4 years in schools that follow the trimestral curriculum.

Respiratory Therapy Clinical Internship

The fourth year of the BSRT program is spent in acute care hospitals, diagnostic laboratories, rehabilitation centers and convalescent and retirement centers. The internship program involves assigning students to different affiliate centers. It will follow a clinical rotation which means that a student will be assigned in different affiliate centers in specific timeframes. Expect to be exposed to a lot of risky and life threatening procedures. During the clinical internship, you will be rotated in areas where you will care for patients in emergency situations, there is no room for mistakes as this will cost the life of the patient.

The following are the different sections in the clinical laboratory where students must be assigned as well as the corresponding number of hours that must be complied for each area:
  • Pulmonary Diagnostics (500 hours)
  • General Respiratory Care (500 hours)
  • Adult Intensive Care Unit Management (400 hours)
  • Neonatal & Pediatric Critical Care (100 hours)

The student performs respiratory care under the supervision of a licensed pulmonologist/respiratory therapist. Once they are able to complete all the duty hours, they will be given a certificate for their related learning experience.(See source)

Respiratory Therapist Licensure Examination

To become a Registered Respiratory Therapist in the Philippines, a graduate of BS in Respiratory Therapy needs to pass the Respiratory Therapist Licensure Examination. The examination is conducted by the Board of Respiratory Therapists under the supervision of the Professional Regulations Commission (PRC).

The licensure examination for respiratory therapists covers the following subjects:
  • Patient Assessment and Electrocardiography
  • Cardiopulmonary Pathophysiology
  • Neonatal and Pediatric Respiratory Therapy
  • Mechanical Ventilation
  • Acid-Base Physiology and Blood Gas Interpretation
  • Airway Care and Management
  • Pulmonary Function Testing
  • Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  • Oxygen Therapy
(See source)

Career Opportunities for BS in Respiratory Therapy graduates

Jobs for Registered Respiratory Therapists (board exam passers)

  • Respiratory Therapist working in acute care hospitals, Diagnostic laboratories, Sleep disorder centers, Rehabilitation, long-term acute care and skilled nursing facilities, Patients' homes, Patient transport systems, Physician offices, Convalescent and retirement centers, Educational institutions and Wellness centers
  • Neonatal-pediatric Respiratory Therapist – work in children’s hospitals and general hospitals with neonatal-pediatric wards; monitors the breathing of premature babies, treat infants born with pulmonary diseases or disorders, or respond to the unique respiratory care needs of an infant in an emergency.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation therapists – help patients with chronic lung diseases like asthma, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and pulmonary fibrosis cope with their conditions through education, treatment, and exercise.
  • Case management Respiratory Therapists – develop a plan of care aimed at helping a patient transition from the hospital to the home care setting; help coordinate all aspects of a patient's health care needs, making sure they have the equipment and other services they’ll need to recuperate at home.
  • Private Practice Respiratory Therapists – takes care of patients who have long-term illnesses like emphysema; coordinates with patient’s physician and hospital
  • Pulmonary Diagnostics Respiratory Therapists – work in hospital- or physician office-based pulmonary function laboratories, where they conduct the testing required to help physicians determine whether a person has a lung disease and, if so, which one.
  • Respiratory therapy clinical instructor – teaches and supervises Respiratory Therapy students in colleges and universities

Jobs for Non-Board Passers

  • Respiratory Therapy Technician – with patients under the supervision of a respiratory therapist. They treat patients according to the treatment plan developed by the respiratory therapist and other healthcare staff.
  • Pulmonary Function Technologist – prepare patients and equipment for diagnostic testing involving lung functioning. They sometimes assist the doctor with these tests and record the test results.
  • Clinical Researcher – responsible for creating, implementing, and maintaining clinical trials. Writes protocols, case report forms, and consent forms. Recruits and selects investigators and ensures good clinical practices are followed.
  • Medical Equipment Sales Representative – sells respiratory devices made by medical companies to hospitals and physicians' offices; use their experience to accurately demonstrate the product and explain its uses and functions.
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