Career Library

Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists

National Occupation Code (NOC): 3214

Respiratory therapists assist physicians in the diagnosis, treatment and care of patients with respiratory and cardiopulmonary disorders. Clinical perfusionists provide technical support to patients undergoing cardiac surgery and patients requiring cardio-respiratory support. Cardiopulmonary technologists assist physicians in the technical aspects of diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Respiratory therapists are employed in hospitals, extended care facilities, public health centres and respiratory home care companies. Clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists are primarily employed in hospitals. Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists who are supervisors or instructors are included in this unit group.

Job Duties for Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists

Respiratory therapists
  • Perform diagnostic tests, such as arterial blood gas analysis and cardiopulmonary functions tests
  • Operate and monitor respiratory equipment to administer treatments such as oxygen, oxygen-air mixtures, humidified air or medications
  • Operate, monitor, maintain and test a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic equipment
  • Assess patients and perform or assist with interventions such as airway maintenance, line insertions, inductions and intubations
  • Perform artificial respiration and external cardiac massage
  • Assist with transport of high-risk patients
  • Supervise and train students and other respiratory therapists
  • Participate in home care programs for chronic respiratory patients and provide patient and family education
  • Participate in research related to cardiac and pulmonary disorders.
Clinical perfusionists
  • Assemble, maintain and operate extracorporeal circulation equipment, intra-aortic balloon pumps and other heart assist devices to support or temporarily replace patients' cardiopulmonary functions during open-heart surgery
  • Administer blood products, drugs and other substances through heart-lung machines and other devices as directed by cardiac surgeons and anaesthetists to maintain adequate flow of oxygenated blood to all organs of the body
  • Monitor vital signs to support and maintain patients' physiological functions and metabolic needs during cardiopulmonary surgery
  • Participate in routine maintenance, calibration and inspection of all perfusion related equipment
  • Supervise and train student clinical perfusionists and other clinical perfusionists.
Cardiopulmonary technologists
  • Perform diagnostic tests, such as pulmonary function and asthma stress, or assist physicians with cardiac and cardiopulmonary stress tests and bronchoscopies
  • Determine patients' blood characteristics such as activated clotting time and oxygen saturation
  • Operate, monitor, maintain, calibrate and test diagnostic and therapeutic equipment
  • Monitor patients and advise physician of any changes in patients' condition
  • Prepare medications and administer inhaler and other treatments under supervision of cardiologist
  • Provide information and care for patients during tests
  • Assist with the preparation of cardiac catheterization room, prepare specialized catheters and assist cardiologists during catheterization
  • Perform analysis, programming and monitoring of implanted devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators during surgery
  • Supervise and train students and other cardiopulmonary technologists
  • Provide technical support for research.
Respiratory therapists may specialize in areas such as anaesthesia, critical care, pediatrics, cardiopulmonary diagnostics and respiratory home care.

Working Conditions for Respiratory therapists, clinical perfusionists and cardiopulmonary technologists

Work is performed in various healthcare facilities, especially hospitals. Hours in this sector may be irregular, as well as emotionally and physically taxing. Safety measures must be followed to prevent infection from viruses and bacteria.

Alternate Job Titles

  • Anesthesia Technologist
  • Cardiopulmonary Technician
  • Cardiopulmonary Technologist
  • Cardiopulmonary Technology Instructor
  • Cardiopulmonary Technology Supervisor
  • Cardiovascular Perfusion Clinical Instructor
  • Cardiovascular Perfusion Instructor
  • Cardiovascular Perfusion Supervisor
  • Cardiovascular Perfusion Technologist
  • Cardiovascular Perfusionist
  • CCP (certified Clinical Perfusionist)
  • Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP)
  • Chief Perfusionist
  • Chief Respiratory Technologist
  • Clinical Perfusion Clinical Instructor
  • Clinical Perfusion Supervisor
  • Clinical Perfusionist
  • Extracorporal Circulation Technologist
  • Extracorporal Technician
  • Extracorporal Technologist
  • Inhalation Technologist
  • Oxygen Therapy Technician
  • Perfusion Technologist
  • Perfusionist
  • Polysomnographic Technologist
  • Pulmonary Function Technologist
  • Registered Respiratory Care Practitioner
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
  • Respiratory Care Practitioner
  • Respiratory Technician
  • Respiratory Technologist
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapy Chief
  • Respiratory Therapy Clinical Instructor
  • Respiratory Therapy Supervisor
  • RRT (registered Respiratory Therapist)
  • Cardiopulmonary Technologist
  • Cardiovascular Perfusion Supervisor
  • Cardiovascular Perfusionist
  • Certified Clinical Perfusionist (CCP)
  • Chief Respiratory Technologist
  • Clinical Perfusionist
  • Perfusionist
  • Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT)
  • Respiratory Therapist
  • Respiratory Therapy Chief
  • Respiratory Therapy Clinical Instructor
  • Anesthesia Technologist
  • Polysomnographic Technologist