Day in the (hospital) life: From the first breath to the last, respiratory therapists are integral part of our care team

By Tristan Sheets Oct 26, 2015

To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived, this is to have succeeded.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Take this week, Respiratory Care Week, to thank a respiratory therapist! You can spot them at Wyoming Medical Center by their gray scrubs. Front row, from left: Ambra Cortez, Brea Schenk and Sarah Thomas. Second row: Kensi Price, Kim Black and Gail Parker. Third row: Jordan Sjulestad, Linda VanVleet and Nicole Hicks. Back row: Aaron McIntire and Wayne Lowery.

Every eight seconds in the United States, a new baby is born. Each newborn begins their life with a breath. Throughout our lives, how often we breathe and how much we breathe is largely taken for granted. For many humans of all ages, breathing is not effortless.

As respiratory therapists, we know the importance of every breath. Often respiratory therapists are only known to give breathing treatments and check oxygen. Yes, breathing treatments and oxygen therapy are

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Respiratory Care team members show off their gray. Left to right: Nikki Herzberg, Tiffany Scott, Tom Sherwin, Nancy Luse, and Victor Tan

a big part of a respiratory therapist’s job; however, there is more to the profession. Respiratory therapy is one of the nation’s in-demand health care professions due to the prevalence and seriousness of pulmonary disease and due to several respiratory problems associated with organ failure and cardiopulmonary disorders.

This week is Respiratory Care Week, devoted to raising awareness for improving lung health around the world. You can recognize respiratory therapists at Wyoming Medical Center by our gray scrubs.

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Tristan Sheets and Adrian Zuniga

Respiratory therapists experience with pulmonary disorders helps medical staff find the perfect treatment designed for each patient. Focusing on preventing 30-day hospital readmissions for COPD, respiratory therapists are an important part of the medical team. Along with treatments, respiratory therapists assist with educating the patient about disease process, diet and developing an individualized exercise plan for patients.

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Duane Ottema, Sara Dovala and Kelsey D'Arcy

At any moment during the day, respiratory therapists can be called for those who are not breathing or for those whose heart has stopped. Respiratory therapists are trained not only to operate the ECG, but are imperative to the success of the Code Blue Team across the nation. Respiratory therapists run the ventilators on patients of all ages, and this requires specialized training, education, calculations and critical thinking skills.

Respiratory therapists are there in the emergency room assisting with traumas or full arrest. Respiratory therapists are there during a conscious sedation to insure the patient is breathing.

When patients experience difficulty breathing, respiratory therapists often run pulmonary function tests to assist with finding answers. Respiratory therapists also perform stress tests which help identify heart related issues. Respiratory therapists assist with installing balloon pumps to assist the patient’s heart.

Respiratory therapist educate and provide cardiac and pulmonary rehab after heart attacks or recent diagnose of a pulmonary disease.

Respiratory therapist are there from the very first breath to the very last. We are proud to be Wyoming Medical Centers Respiratory Therapists!

Tristan Sheets

Tristan Sheets is a registered respiratory therapist at Wyoming Medical Center. Tristan has been a therapist for 2 ½ years. She earned her associate degree in respiratory from Casper College and will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in respiratory from Boise State in May 2016.  Tristan currently is on the hospital's Employee Advisory Counsel.

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