6 Personality Traits of a Good Respiratory Therapist

Respiratory therapists are healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment and care of respiratory diseases including asthma, COPD, and lung cancer. They also care for patients who suffer from cardiac conditions, which could have an adverse impact on the functionsof the respiratory system.

The respiratory therapist works with patients of different age groups including newborn babies and elderly people. A respiratory therapist provides treatment to patients to help improve their breathing and other aspects of respiratory health.

One of the major concerns of being a respiratory therapist includes early diagnosis of diseases and recommending preventive strategies to patients who are at risk of developing chronic respiratory disorders such as COPD,emphysema, asthma,and lung cancer due to the presence of factors like smoking and family history.

Here are some personality traits that a good respiratory therapist should have to be able to become a successful and skilled medical professional in the field of respiratory medicine.

1. Knowledge and skills

Being a good respiratory therapist obviously requires medical professionals to have the skills and knowledge needed for the treatment of acute and chronic pulmonary diseases. They also need to possess knowledge about the common early warning signs of these diseases so that they can make the diagnosis of the respiratory conditions at an early stage.

This is one of the most important aspects of respiratory medicine as an early diagnosis can improve the prognosis to great extent.

2. Compassion

A respiratory therapist should have the compassion to provide emotional support to the patients, especially those who are suffering from chronic pulmonary disorders that are marked by recurring symptoms or have a poor prognosis.

Some of these conditions include pulmonary carcinoma, COPD, and asthma. COPD is an irreversible disorder known to cause a progressive worsening of the symptoms. Similarly, patients with asthma often develop recurring attacks of breathlessness, which affects the quality of their life. The outcome of pulmonary carcinomas depends on the stage at which it is detected, and the course of treatment is often marked by several challenges.

This suggests that a skilled respiratory therapist should have compassion to be able to provide emotional support to the patients and be empathetic towards them.

3. Detail-Oriented

A respiratory therapist should be detail-oriented in order to ensure that he is able to provide the best possible treatment to the patients based on their overall symptoms, possible diagnosis, and the presence of one or more risk factors.

Being detail-oriented can ensure that the patients are able to receivethe most appropriatepulmonarycare and treatments in a timely manner and that they are monitored on a frequent basis for assessing the progress of the disease.

Being detail-oriented can also allow the physicians to maintain the health-related records of the patient so that critical information is easily available at the time of emergencies.

Our respiratory therapy webinars are aimed at providing tips and strategies to respiratory therapists to help them build these skills.

4. Interpersonal Skills

It is important for the respiratory therapists to developgood interpersonal skills so that they can interact with the patients as well as their families during consultation and treatments.

This is an important aspect of practicing respiratory medicine considering that most pulmonary conditions tend to be chronic in nature and progress over a period of time. In some cases, patientsseek advice from a respiratory therapist only after the condition has progressed considerably.

In such cases, it is important for the respiratory therapistto get as many details of the symptoms and the progress of the disease as possible over the course of a few months or years to be able to get the correct diagnosis.

Having good interpersonal skills can allow the respiratory therapist to get the correct information from the patient and the family thereby allowing them to receive a more comprehensive picture of the patient's health issues.

You can attend our respiratory therapy conferences to learn the most effective ways to communicate with patients during consultation and treatments.

5. Patience 

Respiratory therapists should have the patience to work with the patients for long periods, especially when the condition is long-lasting and hence, necessitates continuous care.

Having patience also holds importance in the management of conditions that are known to improve slowly as the patient is likely to become anxious about the outcomes or the efficacy of the treatments.

The respiratory therapist should be able to communicate clearly with the patients and their families and explain to them the expected duration of the treatment and the possible prognosis. Communicating clearly with the patients can help ease their anxiety and help them build confidence in the therapist.

6. Steady approach

Respiratory therapistsoften need to adopt a steady approach, especially during the treatment of chronic conditions that require long-term treatments and have a poor prognosis.

It is generally said that the respiratory therapists need to work like a turtle as if they are running a marathon and not a sprint. They should adopt a steady approach, considering the long duration of the treatment of chronic pulmonary diseases.

A steady approach can allow them to have a clear vision of the possible outcomes that the treatment would yield over a course of a few days, weeks, and months. This can help them communicate the course of action to the patients more clearly thereby building the confidence of the patient in the care they are receiving.

Being a turtle or having a steady approach is also important while planning the next course of treatment for the patient. In cases where the treatments provideddid not help to derive the expected positive outcomes, the physician should be able to step back and review the treatment plan so that appropriate changes can be made in the same.

The slow and steady approach can allow a physician to assess the prognosis at different stages of the treatment and make changes when needed.


Being compassionate and empathetic towards the patients is as important as having the skills and knowledge of the diagnosis and treatmentof respiratory diseases.Respiratory therapists should make an effort to build these skills to be able to provide the best possible treatments to their patients. You can attend our respiratory therapy ceus to learn to build these skills and become a successful respiratory therapist.