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Respiratory Nurse

Respiratory Nursing (Pulmonary Care Nurse)

A respiratory nurse (or pulmonary care nurse) is a registered nurse who works with families or individuals who need care for respiratory issues such as asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, or any other acute or chronic respiratory condition.  Their patients can be of any age, so it’s important that Respiratory RNs enjoy working with people of all ages, children to elderly.  Skills for this job should include expertise in administering oxygen treatments, expert ability to educate on maintaining respiratory health, and ability to show collaborative efforts with other nurses and physicians.

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Respiratory Nursing Jobs

RN Jobs within the field of respiratory therapy include staff nurse (BSN-RN, or ASN-RN ), clinical nurse specialist (MSN, RN), nurse practitioner (MSN-RN), nurse manager, director, research nurse, or nurse educator. 

How to Become a Respiratory Nurse

Because there are many nursing jobs within the respiratory nursing industry, your schooling options will be based on what you want to do.   For instance, for physician assistant jobs, you’ll need a masters degree in nursing.  Your salary will be a great deal higher than simply getting your RN through a nursing associate program.  Either way, your first step is to obtain your RN.

How to Become a Registered Nurse

Your method for obtaining your RN will be based on where you are in school.  If you don’t have schooling yet under your belt, you can start by entering a two-year associate of science in nursing program (ASN) which, when finished, will qualify you to take your NCLEX-RN exam to become an RN.  The benefit of an ASN nursing program is that you’ll be able to start working as a registered nurse after just 2 years.  With an associate of nursing, you’ll be qualified to work as a staff nurse within respiratory nursing jobs. 

If you wish to work up into higher paying positions such as a nurse manager or a higher-paid staff nurse position,  you might consider obtaining your bachelor or science in nursing (BSN).  When you’ve finished your 4-year nursing program, you’ll be eligible to take your NCLEX RN exam so you can begin working as a registered nurse. 

If you’ve obtained your ASN and want to continue with a bachelor of nursing program, you might consider entering a RN-to-BSN program.  This is a bridge nursing program that’s offered at nursing schools everywhere.  This kind of program applies credit/nursing hours toward your bachelor of science program. There are also bridge nursing programs for RNs who wish to obtain their masters in nursing.  With a masters degree, you are eligible for high paying nursing jobs such as nurse practitioner, physicians assistant, and clinical nurse specialist.  For respiratory nursing jobs, you’ll want to select pulmonary or respiratory health as your specialty.  Some nursing schools offer more specific masters specialties such as pediatric pulmonology or geriatric respiratory health.  

Respiratory Nursing Certifications

Once you have obtained your RN and have worked 1750 hours with critically ill patients, you will be eligible to take the certified critical care exam.  This will allow you to work as a certified pulmonary function technician (CPFT)

Respiratory Nursing Salary

Registered Nurse salary varies greatly based on your level of education.  For instance, a staff nurse with only an associates degree makes around $40,000 per year depending on where they work.  Contrarily, respiratory nurse practitioner salary can range between $90,000 and $125,000 per year.