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About Patient Care Services

Respiratory Care Services



Respiratory Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital is a world renowned leader in the field of Respiratory Care. Since its inception over 30 years ago this department has continually set the standard for excellence in the profession. Today, the pursuit of this mission is maintained as the department continues to provide the highest quality healthcare while supporting and participating research and education.


Respiratory Care Services, a division of Patient Care Services, provides inpatient services to a variety of patients 24 hours per day, seven days per week. In addition to providing care, respiratory therapists serve as consultants to nurses, physicians, and other members of the healthcare team. Through research based practice and a commitment to continuing education, the department has remained in the forefront of the profession and continues to set the standards for excellence that are recognized worldwide

Respiratory Care Services provides services to the full range of patients from neonate to geriatric, with an emphasis on acute and critical care. Services provided include care of the critically ill patient including adult ventilation, pediatric ventilation and neonatal ventilation. The department also provides nitric oxide administration to both intubated and non-intubated patients. Heliox therapy is used for patients with various types of airway obstruction, and high frequency ventilation is provided for adults, pediatric and neonates.

Respiratory therapists at Massachusetts General Hospital participate in the management of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for patients with carbon monoxide inhalation, problem wounds and other ailments and noninvasive positive pressure ventilation is provided for over one thousand patients per year. Other services include asthma education, bronchoscopy assistance, and aerosolized antibiotic administration. In the neonatal and pediatric intensive care units respiratory therapists manage extra-corporeal life support, surfactant delivery, and high-risk transport of pediatric and neonatal patients.


All newly hired therapists will complete a 12-week orientation, consisting of a combination of clinical and classroom time. After completion of the one and one-half day hospital orientation program, new employees meet with the respiratory care office manager. She will assign the new employee a locker and issue three sets of scrubs. Miscellaneous paperwork, such as payroll, benefits and computer logon forms will be completed during this time.

Respiratory therapists at MGH are looked upon as consultants by. As such, physicians, nurses and other members of the health care team value their input and recommendations in managing the ventilator as well as all other aspects of respiratory care. To foster this type of professional environment, a series of lectures and workshops will be scheduled for all new therapists. This part of orientation is presented by department faculty and covers important concepts and required clinical competencies necessary to meet the challenges and expectations of respiratory care. Workshop time is a hands-on approach that is intended to help the orientee become proficient in the use of specific types of ventilators and other equipment used at MGH. This element of the orientation program includes a class schedule, specific reading material, lecture, study guides and competency exams.

During the clinical portion of orientation, orientees are scheduled to rotate through all ICU's and floor areas of the hospital. Approximately 2 weeks will be spent in one ICU, usually the Surgical ICU or Medical ICU, with a preceptor who is a primary therapist in that area. The preceptor will be a resource for the new therapist. The goal of this part of orientation is to gain understanding of practical applications of department-wide issues, such as, ventilator management strategies or bronchoscopy assistance. When the new staff member completes orientation, he or she will generally be assigned to work in this area for a period of time, in order to gain expertise in that area. During the remainder of orientation, the new staff member will spend 1-3 shifts in each of the other ICU's and general floor areas, again guided by a preceptor.

The orientee will receive a workbook that is designed to track progress through orientation and contains check off sheets for each ICU or floor. Unit specific issues are listed on these check off sheets. This workbook is an invaluable tool that allows the new employee to continuously monitor his/her progress and develop a fuller understanding of the orientation process. In so doing, he/she is able to anticipate many aspects of the program resulting in more pleasant and successful experience. To inquire about positions available in this department go to:



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