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Oct 26, 2022 3:01:00 PM

The Top 5 Interpersonal Skills for Respiratory Therapists


In honor of Respiratory Care Week, October 23-29, we encourage you to join us in celebrating all of the amazing Respiratory Therapists throughout the country. During this week, we recognize not only the professionals, but also all of the technical and interpersonal skills that come with working in Respiratory Therapy.

Respiratory Therapists treat patients of all ages with breathing disorders and cardiopulmonary diseases, and they play a critical role in patient recovery. Working with a variety of patients requires a specific set of skills to perform the job effectively, while providing quality care. Along with having a proper education, qualifications, and technical skills, there are also interpersonal skills that a Respiratory Therapist must excel in to be successful. We have broken down the top 5 must-have interpersonal skills for respiratory therapists.


Bedside Manner

RTs act as emotional support for their patients as recovery and treatment can be daunting. Having a good bedside manner is critical as the overall diagnosis/treatment plan can often be a long and slow process. Focusing on body language, making eye contact, and actively listening to the patient’s concerns will make a difference in how the patient feels and responds to treatment. It’s important patients feel heard and supported throughout their healing journey.



Communication is key in every job, but especially as an RT. RTs must have the ability to clearly communicate patient test results, diagnosis, and treatment plans with the patient and their loved ones. Educating the patient on the diagnosis and process of recovery is absolutely essential. In addition, communicating patient results, diagnosis, and treatment plans with the other physicians involved so that everyone is on the same page is also important.


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Attention to Detail

Working in the healthcare industry requires a great deal of attention to detail and working with confidential information is a part of the position. Updating patient records, determining a prognosis, and documenting treatment plans are typical tasks in your day-to-day duties. Being aware of the details of a patient’s medical history is a key factor when considering the best care and recovery plan.



RTs are often placed in stressful situations like intubating a patient who is under extreme respiratory distress. These situations require being able to think critically under pressure so they can determine the appropriate course of action. To be a successful Respiratory Therapist, it is essential to be able to work in a fast-paced environment, determine a diagnosis and quickly formulate a treatment plan. It is also important to be able to switch gears as needed if the patient is not responding to treatment or is having a difficult time understanding the treatment steps and importance.


Team Player

Ultimately, RTs are a part of a team working together to provide the best care and outcome for their patients. A team player who is willing to lend a hand, jump in where needed, and is open to feedback makes for a great RT! Most importantly, as we’ve seen over the last few years, being flexible and adapting to adversity is crucial when working in the healthcare industry.


In addition to having the proper qualifications and technical skills, having these interpersonal skills makes for a well-rounded and successful Respiratory Therapist. Respiratory Care Week is not only a time to recognize and celebrate all Respiratory Therapists, but it is also an opportunity to take a step back and focus on methods to consistently improve these interpersonal skills to provide the best patient care possible.


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Are you a Respiratory Therapist looking to take the next step in your career, and considering becoming a healthcare traveler? Whether you are looking for your first or next travel assignment, we have plenty of respiratory care jobs nationwide that are calling your name! Get ready for your next (or first) travel assignment with our traveler to-dos and start your adventure with LRS Healthcare today!