25 Respiratory Therapist Interview Questions and Answers
Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a respiratory therapist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.
Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a respiratory therapist, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.
Respiratory therapists work with patients who have difficulty breathing—from newborns with underdeveloped lungs to elderly patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). They may work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, clinics, or home health agencies.
If you’re interviewing for a respiratory therapist job, you can expect to answer questions about your experience and skills. But you’ll also need to be prepared to answer some questions about the nature of the respiratory therapist job. Read on to learn more about the types of questions you may be asked and how to answer them.
Employers may ask this question to determine if you have the necessary qualifications for the job. If you are not certified, they might want to know what steps you plan to take to become certified. You can answer honestly about your certification status and explain how you plan to achieve certification in the future.
Example: “Yes, I am certified as a respiratory therapist. I have been working in the field for over five years and during that time I have obtained my Certified Respiratory Therapist (CRT) credential from the National Board of Respiratory Care (NBRC). This certification demonstrates my knowledge and expertise in the field of respiratory care.
I also stay up to date on the latest developments in the field by attending continuing education courses and conferences. My commitment to staying current with best practices and new technologies has enabled me to provide quality patient care throughout my career. In addition, I am well-versed in all aspects of respiratory therapy including ventilator management, airway clearance techniques, oxygen delivery systems, and pulmonary diagnostics.”
This question can help the interviewer determine if you have experience working with their facility’s patients. It also helps them understand what types of conditions you’ve treated in the past and how you helped your patients overcome those issues. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a few common conditions that are prevalent at the facility you’re interviewing for and explain how you would treat each one.
Example: “As a Respiratory Therapist, I am experienced in treating a wide range of respiratory conditions. On a regular basis, I treat asthma, COPD, and pneumonia. I have extensive experience in providing both acute and chronic care for these conditions.
I am also knowledgeable about the latest treatments and medications used to manage these conditions. I understand how to properly administer oxygen therapy, nebulizer treatments, and inhalers. I am familiar with the use of ventilators and other mechanical ventilation devices. Finally, I am well-versed in educating patients on lifestyle changes that can help improve their overall health and reduce the severity of their symptoms.”
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your problem-solving skills and ability to remain calm under pressure. In your answer, try to highlight your critical thinking skills and how you would use them to find a solution to the situation.
Example: “When a patient is not responding to treatment, it can be concerning and challenging. In such cases, I would first take the time to review the patient’s medical history, current medications, and any other relevant information to ensure that all of the necessary steps have been taken for their care. Then, I would consult with the physician or supervising respiratory therapist to discuss possible alternative treatments or adjustments to the existing plan. Finally, I would work closely with the patient and their family to provide education on the condition and explain the options available to them. My goal in this situation is always to provide the best possible care to the patient while also ensuring that they are comfortable and informed throughout the process.”
The interviewer may ask you this question to understand how you organize your work and maintain accurate records. Use examples from your experience to explain the steps you take to document your progress, including how you keep track of patient information and treatment plans.
Example: “I understand the importance of accurate documentation and patient records. My process for documenting my work begins with assessing the patient’s condition, determining a plan of care, and then implementing that plan. I document each step of the process in the patient’s chart as it is completed. I also make sure to include any changes or modifications made during treatment.
Additionally, I always double check my work before submitting it to ensure accuracy. I take pride in my attention to detail and strive to provide the best possible care for my patients. Finally, I keep detailed notes on all treatments so that I can review them at a later date if needed. This helps me stay organized and ensures that I have an up-to-date record of the patient’s progress.”
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your communication skills and ability to educate patients about their treatment. In your answer, try to show that you can be patient-centered while also being informative.
Example: “I recently had a patient who was diagnosed with COPD and needed to understand the condition and how it would affect their daily life. I took the time to explain to them in detail what COPD is, its causes, and the treatment options available. I also discussed lifestyle changes they could make to help manage their symptoms and prevent further progression of the disease.
The patient was very receptive to my advice and asked questions throughout the conversation to ensure they fully understood everything. At the end of our discussion, I gave them some educational material to take home so they could review the information at their own pace. The patient thanked me for taking the time to educate them on their condition and expressed that they felt more informed about their health.”
The interviewer may ask you a question like this to assess your bedside manner and interpersonal skills. Your answer should demonstrate that you are empathetic, compassionate and able to communicate effectively with patients.
Example: “When caring for a patient who needs to use a ventilator, I always prioritize their comfort and safety. To ensure they get a good night’s sleep, I would first assess the patient’s current condition and any existing medical conditions that could affect their ability to rest comfortably. Then, I would adjust the settings on the ventilator to make sure it is providing the right amount of oxygen and pressure support needed for the patient.
I would also work with the nursing staff to create an environment conducive to restful sleep. This includes minimizing noise levels in the room, adjusting the temperature, and making sure the bedding is comfortable. Finally, I would provide education to the patient and their family about proper positioning while using the ventilator so they can be as relaxed and comfortable as possible during their stay.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you would respond to a crisis situation. In your answer, try to highlight your ability to think quickly and problem-solve under pressure.
Example: “If a supply of oxygen ran out unexpectedly during a treatment, I would take the necessary steps to ensure that the patient’s safety and well-being were not compromised. First, I would assess the situation and determine if there was an alternate source of oxygen available. If so, I would switch to the new source as quickly as possible. If no other sources were available, I would use my knowledge and experience to provide the best care for the patient in the absence of oxygen. This could include providing manual ventilation or using alternative treatments such as noninvasive positive pressure ventilation. Finally, I would document all actions taken and report any issues to the appropriate personnel. My goal is always to provide safe and effective care for my patients, and this includes being prepared for unexpected events.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your ability to work under pressure. This is because respiratory therapists often have multiple patients they need to care for at the same time, so it’s important that you can perform well in these situations. In your answer, try to explain how you manage stress and prioritize tasks effectively when working with a large workload.
Example: “I am very comfortable performing under pressure. I have been a Respiratory Therapist for over 10 years, and in that time I have had to prioritize multiple patients on numerous occasions. For example, when I worked at my previous job, I was responsible for the care of up to five patients at any given time. During one particular shift, two of the patients experienced sudden respiratory distress.
In order to provide the best possible care for both patients, I quickly assessed their conditions and prioritized them based on severity. I then provided immediate treatment to the patient with the most critical condition while simultaneously monitoring the other patient’s status. By utilizing my experience and knowledge as a Respiratory Therapist, I was able to successfully manage both patients and ensure they received the appropriate level of care.”
Some facilities may have a pediatric unit, and the interviewer wants to know if you’re comfortable working with children. If you do not have experience working with children, explain that you are willing to learn how to work with them.
Example: “Yes, I do have experience working with children. During my time as a Respiratory Therapist, I worked in both the adult and pediatric departments of a hospital. In the pediatric department, I was responsible for providing respiratory care to infants, toddlers, and adolescents. My duties included performing assessments, administering treatments, and educating families on proper home care techniques. I also had the opportunity to collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure that each patient received the best possible care. As a result of this experience, I am confident that I can provide excellent care to children while maintaining a positive attitude and professional demeanor.”
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your knowledge of the physical assessment process. They want to know that you are familiar with the key areas and how they relate to a patient’s overall health. In your answer, try to list all of the major body systems you examine during an assessment.
Example: “When performing a physical assessment, I always start by assessing the patient’s vital signs. This includes taking their temperature, pulse, respiratory rate, and blood pressure. After that, I move on to examining the patient’s chest for any abnormalities in breathing patterns or sounds. I also check for any swelling or tenderness in the neck, shoulders, and abdomen. Finally, I assess the patient’s oxygen saturation levels using an oximeter.”
Infection control is a vital part of the respiratory therapist’s job. The interviewer may ask you this question to see how you would implement new procedures and ensure compliance with infection control policies. In your answer, explain that you would create an action plan for improving current practices and ensuring staff members follow through on their responsibilities.
Example: “As a Respiratory Therapist, I understand the importance of infection control procedures in order to keep patients safe and healthy. If given the opportunity to implement new procedures at your facility, I would first assess the current practices and identify areas for improvement. Then, I would develop a plan that outlines specific steps to improve compliance with infection control procedures. This plan would include training staff on proper protocols, implementing new policies and procedures, and monitoring progress to ensure that all guidelines are being followed. Finally, I would work closely with other departments to ensure that everyone is following the same standards. By taking these steps, I am confident that we can create an environment where infection control procedures are consistently followed.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your attention to detail and how you ensure the safety of patients. In your answer, describe a specific process for cleaning equipment and supplies and why it’s important to follow these steps.
Example: “My process for cleaning and sanitizing equipment and supplies after each use is comprehensive and thorough. First, I make sure to wear protective gloves and a face mask when handling any contaminated items. Then, I clean the surface of the item with an appropriate disinfectant solution. After that, I rinse off the item with warm water and then dry it completely. Finally, I apply a new layer of disinfectant to ensure all bacteria and germs are eliminated. This process ensures that every piece of equipment and supply is safe and hygienic for the next patient.
I am confident in my ability to provide quality care and maintain a sterile environment. With my experience as a Respiratory Therapist, I understand the importance of proper sanitation protocols and take them very seriously. I strive to create a safe and healthy environment for both patients and staff alike.”
Employers ask this question to learn more about your skills and abilities as a respiratory therapist. They want to know what makes you unique from other candidates applying for the position. When answering this question, think of two or three things that make you stand out. These can be specific skills or experiences that you have.
Example: “I believe my qualifications and experience make me stand out from other respiratory therapists. I have been a registered Respiratory Therapist for the past five years, working in both acute care and long-term care settings. During this time, I have developed strong clinical skills and knowledge of current standards of practice.
In addition to my clinical expertise, I am also passionate about patient education. I understand that educating patients on their condition and treatment options is essential for successful outcomes. As such, I strive to provide clear and concise information to help them better manage their health.
Furthermore, I am highly organized and detail-oriented. I take pride in being able to keep track of multiple tasks at once while ensuring accuracy and quality. This has allowed me to effectively coordinate with other healthcare professionals and ensure that all necessary steps are taken for optimal patient care.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your computer skills and how you use them in the workplace. If you have experience using specific programs, mention those in your answer. If you haven’t used any particular program before, explain that you are willing to learn new software or programs if necessary.
This question can help the interviewer get a better idea of your priorities and how you view your role in the healthcare team. Your answer should show that you understand the importance of each aspect of your job, including patient safety, teamwork and communication with other medical professionals.
Example: “As a respiratory therapist, I believe the most important aspect of my job is providing quality care to patients. This means taking the time to listen to their concerns and understanding their individual needs. It also involves staying up-to-date on the latest treatments and technologies in order to provide the best possible care. Finally, it’s about being an advocate for the patient and ensuring that they receive the highest level of care.
I am passionate about helping people breathe easier and improving their quality of life. My experience as a respiratory therapist has given me the skills and knowledge necessary to do this effectively. I have a strong commitment to continuing education, which allows me to stay current with new developments in the field. I am confident that I can use these skills to provide excellent care to your patients.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn about your experience with equipment maintenance. They want to know if you have the skills and knowledge to perform regular maintenance on respiratory equipment, such as oxygen tanks or ventilators. In your answer, explain that you understand how important it is to keep equipment in good condition. Share a specific example of when you performed maintenance on equipment.
Example: “As a Respiratory Therapist, I understand the importance of regularly maintaining respiratory equipment. I always follow manufacturer guidelines for maintenance and cleaning protocols to ensure that all equipment is in optimal working condition. I typically perform maintenance on respiratory equipment every three months or as needed. This includes inspecting the equipment for any signs of wear and tear, cleaning and sanitizing it, and replacing any worn out parts. I also keep detailed records of each maintenance session so that I can track when the next one should be scheduled.
I am confident that my experience and attention to detail make me an ideal candidate for this position. I have extensive knowledge of respiratory therapy equipment and its maintenance requirements, and I am committed to providing safe and effective care to patients.”
This question is an opportunity to show your problem-solving skills. You can answer this question by describing the steps you would take to solve the issue and how you would ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Example: “If there is a shortage of supplies in the supply closet, my first step would be to assess the situation and determine what supplies are needed. I would then consult with the supervisor or manager to see if additional supplies can be ordered. If so, I would work with them to ensure that the necessary supplies are requested and received in a timely manner.
I am also experienced in finding creative solutions when it comes to shortages. For example, I could look into alternative suppliers for the items we need, or explore cost-saving options such as reusing certain supplies. In addition, I have experience managing inventory levels and tracking usage rates to help prevent future shortages.”
The interviewer may ask you this question to assess your ability to motivate patients and ensure they are following their treatment plans. Use examples from previous experience that highlight your communication skills, empathy and problem-solving abilities.
Example: “I believe that patient education is key when it comes to ensuring adherence to treatment plans. I strive to provide patients with clear and concise information about their condition, the treatments available, and the expected outcomes of each option. This allows them to make an informed decision regarding their care.
In addition, I work hard to build strong relationships with my patients. By taking the time to get to know them on a personal level, I am better able to understand their individual needs and concerns. This helps me to tailor their treatment plan accordingly and ensure they are comfortable with the proposed course of action.
Lastly, I use positive reinforcement techniques to encourage patients to stick with their prescribed treatment plans. For example, I may offer rewards for completing certain milestones or suggest activities that can help keep them motivated. I also emphasize the importance of follow-up appointments so that any potential issues can be addressed in a timely manner.”
The interviewer may ask this question to assess your commitment to continuing education. They want to know that you are actively involved in the respiratory therapy community and have a desire to learn more about advances in the field. Your answer should include information on how you stay up-to-date with developments, as well as what resources you use to do so.
Example: “I am passionate about staying up to date with the latest developments and trends in respiratory care. I regularly attend continuing education courses, conferences, and seminars to learn new techniques and stay informed of any changes in the field. I also read professional journals and publications related to respiratory therapy so that I can be aware of any new treatments or technologies. Finally, I take advantage of online resources such as webinars and podcasts to further my knowledge and understanding of the profession. By doing these things, I ensure that I remain knowledgeable and current on all aspects of respiratory care.”
Working as part of a team is an important skill for respiratory therapists to have. Employers ask this question to make sure you know how to work well with others and that you are able to communicate effectively with your colleagues. When answering, try to think of a specific example where you worked on a team to provide care to a patient. Try to highlight the skills you used in working with your team members to complete your task.
Example: “Working as part of a team to provide patient care is something I have extensive experience in. Recently, I was part of a multidisciplinary team that provided respiratory therapy for a critically ill patient. We worked together to develop an individualized treatment plan and coordinate our efforts to ensure the best possible outcome for the patient.
I took on the role of lead Respiratory Therapist and coordinated with other members of the team such as nurses, physicians, and nutritionists. My responsibilities included assessing the patient’s condition, providing appropriate treatments, monitoring the patient’s progress, and making sure all members of the team were informed of any changes in the patient’s condition. Through collaboration and communication, we were able to successfully manage the patient’s condition and achieve a positive outcome.
This experience demonstrated my ability to work effectively as part of a team to provide quality patient care. I am confident that I can bring this same level of commitment and expertise to your organization.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your experience with different types of ventilators. Ventilators are machines that help patients breathe, and the interviewer wants to know if you have worked with a variety of them in the past. Use your answer to highlight your knowledge of various ventilators and how you use them to treat patients.
Example: “I have extensive experience working with different types of ventilators. In my current role as a Respiratory Therapist, I am responsible for the maintenance and operation of various mechanical ventilators. I have worked with both invasive and non-invasive models, including high frequency oscillatory ventilation (HFOV), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP).
I understand the importance of proper calibration and setting adjustments to ensure optimal patient outcomes. I also have experience troubleshooting any issues that may arise during use. My knowledge of respiratory physiology has allowed me to quickly identify potential problems and take corrective action when necessary.”
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your interpersonal skills and ability to manage challenging situations. In your answer, try to highlight your problem-solving skills and ability to communicate effectively with patients.
Example: “If a patient was not following my instructions or refusing to cooperate, I would first take the time to understand why. It is important to identify any underlying issues that may be causing this behavior and address those needs in order to help the patient. Once I have identified the issue, I will then explain to the patient how their actions are affecting their health and how it could potentially worsen if they do not follow my instructions.
I also believe in providing education on the importance of following instructions and cooperating with medical professionals. This helps patients better understand the consequences of their actions and encourages them to take responsibility for their own health. Finally, I would ensure that the patient understands what is expected of them and provide support and resources to help them achieve their goals.”
This question can help interviewers understand how you prioritize your work and manage time. Your answer should show that you are organized, detail-oriented and able to meet deadlines.
Example: “Yes, I have extensive experience managing multiple tasks at once. During my time as a Respiratory Therapist, I was responsible for providing direct patient care while also ensuring the safety and well-being of all patients in my unit. This required me to be organized and efficient with my time management so that I could attend to each task in an appropriate manner. In addition, I had to prioritize certain tasks over others depending on their urgency or importance. My ability to multi-task and stay organized allowed me to provide quality care to all of my patients.”
The interviewer may ask this question to learn more about your interpersonal skills and how you interact with patients. This is an opportunity to show that you are a compassionate person who cares about the well-being of others.
Example: “I recently had the opportunity to provide emotional support to a patient and their family. The patient was an elderly man who had been diagnosed with COPD, and he was struggling to come to terms with his diagnosis. His family was also very distraught and overwhelmed by the situation.
I took the time to sit down with the patient and his family and discuss the diagnosis in detail. I explained the treatment options available and what they could expect from each one. I also provided them with resources for additional information and support. Finally, I offered words of encouragement and reminded them that there is hope for recovery.
The patient and his family were grateful for my help and felt more at ease after our conversation. It was a rewarding experience for me as well, knowing that I had made a difference in this family’s life. This experience reaffirmed my commitment to providing compassionate care to all of my patients.”
Interviewers may ask this question to assess your ability to manage stress and maintain a positive attitude. They want to know that you can keep calm in stressful situations, which is important for working with patients who are experiencing anxiety or pain. In your answer, try to explain how you use techniques like meditation, exercise or other healthy habits to reduce stress.
Example: “As a Respiratory Therapist, I understand the importance of reducing stress for both myself and my patients. To do this, I use a variety of techniques.
For myself, I practice mindfulness and deep breathing exercises to help me stay focused and relaxed in stressful situations. I also make sure to take regular breaks throughout the day to give myself time to recharge.
When it comes to my patients, I strive to create an environment that is as calming and comfortable as possible. I use positive language and body language to put them at ease, and I listen carefully to their concerns. I also provide education on relaxation techniques such as diaphragmatic breathing and guided imagery. These tools can be used by patients to reduce their own stress levels.”