Q: What's a typical workday like for you?

A: My title is critical care coordinator, so the day starts with reviewing respiratory care patients for service in the intensive care unit (ICU) and the intermediate respiratory unit. Then I do rounds with other members of the ICU multidisciplinary team to make sure all patients' needs are being met. After rounds, I address the respiratory needs of patients based on physicians' orders from rounds. I also assist with bedside procedures in the ICU, such as percutaneous tracheostomies with the trauma surgeons.

Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?

A: My role is to try to move patients from the critical care unit into regular hospital rooms when it's appropriate, because hospital beds are in such demand. I am frequently asked to assess patients throughout the hospital who have more critical respiratory needs and recommend where they should be placed within the facility.

Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?

A: In addition to patients and their families, I work closely with my co-workers in respiratory care, trauma surgeons, emergency room physicians, pulmonologists, nurses, pharmacists, dieticians, social workers and pastoral care providers.

Q: Why did you become a respiratory therapist?

A: When I was 12, I saw my grandmother die of a pulmonary embolism. It was very hard because I couldn't do anything to help. That geared me toward the medical field. Respiratory therapy was a very interesting area and new when I started, and that attracted me. I wanted to help other people.

Q: What do you like about your work?

A: What I like the best is the teamwork and the respect that you have from all disciplines to make the patients better faster and get back their full potential.