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Respir Care. 2009 Mar;54(3):375-89.

Creating a vision for respiratory care in 2015 and beyond.

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Respiratory Care Services, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA 02114, USA.


The respiratory care profession is over 60 years old. Throughout its short history, change and innovation have been the terms that best describe the development of the profession. The respiratory therapist (RT) of today barely resembles the clinicians of 60 years ago, and the future role of the RT is clearly open to debate. Medicine is continually changing, with new approaches to disease management emerging almost daily. Third-party payers are challenging payment for iatrogenic injury, manpower issues are affecting all disciplines in medicine, and the nonphysician and physician work force is aging. These factors make us question what the respiratory care profession will look like in the year 2015. To address this issue the American Association for Respiratory Care established a task force to envision the RT of the future. The goal is to identify potential new roles and responsibilities of RTs in 2015 and beyond, and to suggest the elements of education, training, and competency-documentation needed to assure safe and effective execution of those roles and responsibilities. We present the initial findings of that task force.

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