The work of a respiratory therapist is complex, and hiring managers tend to look for qualified people with solid backgrounds. Hence, the interview process to hire respiratory therapists is quite tough to ace.
However, you can practice commonly asked questions in order to increase your chances of being hired.
Most interview questions to determine a respiratory therapist’s suitability will be aimed at the candidate’s knowledge of the work, and experience in it. This is the area that you need to work on when preparing for the interview.
You will be asked questions to determine if you can easily monitor patients’ physiological responses to therapies. Also, you will be checked on your knowledge of setting up and operating devices such as gas administrators, and mechanical ventilators.
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If you want to prepare to appear for a respiratory therapist interview, you should go through the following questions and answers:
32 Common Questions and Answers for Respiratory Therapist Interview
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself.
I am a passionate respiratory therapist with 6+ years of hands-on experience. My interest in this work stemmed from an internship that I took up in a medical capacity before I trained in this arena. Since then, I have been working hard to make a niche for myself in this regard.
2. What specific duties have you performed in the role of a respiratory therapist?
As a respiratory therapist, I have been busy performing many duties such as performing assessments and diagnostic procedures, making recommendations for respiratory care and treatment, and performing treatment procedures. In addition, my work involves modifying care plans based on patients’ specific needs and progress and operating and maintaining therapeutic equipment.
3. What skills do you possess which make you an excellent person to hire as a respiratory therapist?
I am highly experienced in a lot of areas including monitoring patients’ responses, managing patient care, and following specified parameters of care. Additionally, I am well-versed in providing emergency care such as external cardiac massages, artificial respiration, and assistance with cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Also, I am proficient in using, maintaining, and testing respiratory therapy equipment.
4. What do you like most about this work?
I love the challenges associated with this work. The fact that every day is a new one, with different things to learn makes it worth my while.
5. What do you like least about this work?
I hate losing patients. The fact that patients with respiratory issues are quite fragile makes it a tad depressing for me at times.
6. How do you handle adversity coming from patients?
I don’t mind patients becoming a little edgy when they come to me. When patients require respiratory treatment, they are often in quite a lot of pain. It is okay for them to be a little uncooperative. I deal with all this in a calm manner.
7. What is your manner of developing treatment programs?
All my treatment plans are based on the individual needs of each patient. I assess patients’ conditions to determine their specific therapy requirements and develop treatment programs accordingly.
8. Have you ever lost a patient?
Unfortunately, I have. The patient had been in an accident and was brought to me with punctured lungs. There was nothing that I could do to save him.
9. What is your greatest strength?
My greatest strength is my ability to handle many cases of differing natures at the same time.
10. What is your greatest weakness?
My greatest weakness is the fact that I go too deep into cases where emotion is involved. I am overcoming this weakness with the passage of time.
11. How does that affect your work?
Honestly speaking, being a little emotional about your patients actually helps with the healing process. However, I am training myself not to get too emotionally involved so that it does not cloud my judgment.
12. How do you deliver bad news to patients and their families?
I am quite adept at doing this. I break the news to the patients and families slowly and use words that do not have a direct impact on their emotional health.
13. How do you handle disagreements with other respiratory therapists?
I am a tolerant individual, who takes into account other people’s opinions before flying off the handle. This way, it becomes easy to work with them, and quite often, one gets a great insight into the case.
14. Why do you want to leave your current job?
I am interested in furthering my knowledge and working for an organization that provides great training and development support to its employees.
15. Tell us of a time when you achieved something big.
I recently developed a respiratory therapy program that aims to help premature babies with lung development. I believe that this is my biggest achievement so far.
16. How do you motivate discouraged or demotivated patients?
I make sure that I talk to them in a calm manner and in a low voice. This helps them in understanding that I am trying to help and that they will reach their goals eventually.
17. What is the most challenging respiratory treatment that you have administered?
I have treated 10 cases of MERV, by tailoring treatment according to the severity of the virus attack on individual patients.
18. How do you meet the patient’s respiratory needs?
I begin by assessing the patient’s pulmonary needs through pulmonary assessment tests. I then come up with a comprehensive respiratory therapy plan/schedule based on the interpretation of test results and in consultation with the physician.
19. Do you think documentation is essential in respiratory therapy?
Definitely! Each patient has a complete file with charts, which is updated after each treatment session. It not only consists of details of the treatment given but also how the patient’s system responded to the same.
20. Why did you choose this field?
My grandfather took respiratory treatment for an extended period and observing him and the way respiratory therapy eased inhaling inspired me to join this field initially.
21. What are your major strengths as a respiratory therapist?
I am an expert in broncho-pulmonary drainage, conducting breathing exercises, and monitoring patient response to therapy by closely watching vital signs, and arterial blood gases, and monitoring blood chemistry changes.
22. What infection control protocols do you practice?
I practice in compliance with the USA’s Healthcare infection control advisory committee (HISAD) by sterilizing all apparatus and equipment after every use and by following personal sanitization protocols before any interaction with patients.
23. Share an instance where you introduced some new technique at the hospital you worked for? How did it work?
I initiated the installation and usage of oscillation and jet ventilators at the unit, which was not only cost-effective but also generated better results as compared to the traditional ventilators. They still have them.
24. What have you done to improve your respiratory therapy knowledge?
Being an active member of the American Association of Respiratory Care, I have been participating in various conferences held by the association to keep my knowledge in the field updated.
I am also a keen reader of the quarterly respiratory research journal issued by the AHRQ which documents a lot of continuous research in the field, familiarizing its readers with the latest technology and trends applicable to respiratory therapy.
25. How do you collaborate with the attending physician/ consultant?
I usually hold a meeting with the concerned doctor before finalizing my treatment plan. If it is not possible and I’m asked to depend on the written prescription or records, even then, I talk to the physician on the phone at least before determining the final treatment plan.
26. How well can you respond to emergencies? What is the most important thing when dealing with situations that require immediate respiratory attention?
I believe that I am quite capable of handling emergencies effectively, and I have my work to show for it. The most important thing in situations that demand immediate attention is to figure out where the problem is.
If one has the capability of figuring out the nature of the disease, it is easy to pinpoint what treatment needs to be administered by looking at only a few symptoms.
27. What respiratory equipment are you most proficient in using?
I am specially trained to use nasal cannulas, air cushion resuscitation masks, non-rebreathing masks, nebulizers, aspirators, compact compressors, ultrasonic nebulizers, and ventilators.
28. How would you explain a respiratory treatment to a nervous client?
Once I have explained it in words, I will model the procedure, and answer patients’ questions to them in order to ease their fears.
29. How would you handle a situation where a family member disagreed with your assessment?
Disagreements of this sort occur when there is a lack of knowledge. My first step would be educating the family member and providing important notes and documents to present my case. I would also encourage them to get a second opinion.
30. When can you join us?
I can join you immediately, as I am working on a freelance basis at the moment.
31. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In 5 years, I intend to be working as the head of a respiratory research department.
32. Do you have any questions for me?
I would love to know more about your hiring criteria and the research prospects in your hospital.
Even if you do not get the job, there are many benefits of an interview.
It is incredible how much confidence we gain when we have performed well in a respiratory therapist interview. Acing an interview because we want the job is one thing; equally important is what you learn from an interview. Interviews are very informative.
So even if you do not end up being successful at gaining a position; you will have learned quite a lot. This is one of the main reasons that you should do well in an interview no matter what the outcome is.
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