You have worked hard to get to this point, so talk about all the energy you put into your training! Explain your education by talking about the classroom and hands on experience that shows how you meet the qualifications. In order to meet the basic standards, you'll need your associates degree or a bachelors, and you'll need clinical experience. Talk about what you learned specifically in your training that will prove you have what it takes. You can share an example of some of the work you learned to do during training and talk about your technical skills.
Sleep apnea and asthma are two commonly diagnosed respiratory illnesses. Even though there is much research on them, there is still more to be learned. Think of some of the problems you have experienced with patients. Which ones interested you most? Why? Explain to the interviewer that you are interested in understanding how these illnesses affect the oxygen supplied to the brain, which ultimately affects the patient's overall health. Are you interested in finding out if some of these common illnesses can be prevented or treated in a more effective way?
If you have read through any posts on job search sites from experienced respiratory therapist, you will see some of the drawbacks. The pay can be low and the opportunities for advancement may be limited. You may have already experienced some other drawbacks already, but clearly you are still interested in the career. If you are searching for interview questions you must like something about the job! If an interviewer asks you this question, focus on the challenges like dealing with difficult patients or balancing a heavy workload in a fast-paced environment. Then share how you deal with it. An interview is not the place to complain! You want to show off your strengths and how you overcome challenges! Speak with confidence and draw from your experience.
Now that you understand the conditions you will be treating, does it make you uncomfortable to think about the causes? If you work in an intensive care unit, you may face patients who have been through some dire circumstances. A solid response to this question might sound something like, "Regardless of the situation my patient came from, I am focused on patient care. I am proud to be a part of the stabilizing process and hope to be able to assist in their recovery."
"Regardless of the situation my patient came from, I am focused on patient care. I am proud to be a part of the stabilizing process and hope to be able to assist in their recovery."
Explain step by step how you approach a patient. What questions do you ask first? What do you do if a patient is unable to answer your questions? Familiarize yourself with the questions and the process of patient assessments. How does this assessment play into the care plan development for each patient?
Sometimes the most difficult aspect of training for a new career is finding balance and managing stress. You may have also enrolled in a class that provided an extra challenge for you because the professor moved too quickly or didn't present the information in a clear way. Maybe you struggle to memorize medical terminology. Regardless of the difficulty, explain what it was and then elaborate upon how you handled it. The interviewer is more interested in how you overcame the challenge than the challenge itself! What tools did you use? Did you go to tutoring? Did you meet with the professor during office hours?
Respiratory therapists have quite a bit of interaction with patients. You will need to be able to assess the patient in order to make sure you are providing the correct form of treatment. Explain to the interviewer that, yes, you are comfortable and you enjoy meeting with patients. You're in the field because you enjoy helping people, so show off your people skills and give an example of your patient interactions!
Think of a trait that your family members praise you for time and time again. Is it something you have worked at for years or is it a quality you find comes naturally to you? Strengths can be skills or traits that can help you in all kinds of circumstances. In a work context, your strengths will help you to complete your to-do list, understand patient needs, and apply what you have learned in your training every day. Being perceptive and observant will assist you when meeting with patients. Attention to detail will help you determine the best forms of treatment. What strengths of yours make you an exceptional respiratory therapist?
The interviewer wants to get to know you. When they are testing to see if you would fit in with the rest of the team, interviewers often ask questions like this to learn more about your interests. If you could have any career in the world, what would you choose to do? Is there another type of job in the medical field you would consider? Or would you pursue your passion of becoming a travel writer? There's no right or wrong answer, just know your audience and talk about some of your additional interests and passions you would love to pursue.
Depending upon where you worked and your experience, you may have already encountered the worst of the worst! In an emergency setting or even in your every day pediatrician's office, you might have encountered a difficult personality or a scenario that caused a patient to resist treatment or give you an attitude. Draw from your experience and give an example of someone who was extra challenging for you. How did you handle it? What tools did you use to stay calm while interacting with a difficult personality? Show you are competent in handling those tough patients by explaining your reaction and how you helped through the situation.
Medical facilities often require you to be available to work odd hours. You might be working the night shift for weeks and then one day you're asked to work a double or switch to 12-hour shifts. If you work in a doctor's office that's only open till 7 PM every night, you might have a more predictable schedule. But if you're in the emergency room or another 24-hour facility, you will need to be flexible. Explain your availability, but be clear that you are willing to work the shifts needed. If you're not sure what to expect, ask!
Be honest with yourself: Are you looking for a permanent position with opportunity for long-term growth? Do you plan to work as a respiratory therapist forever or do you see it as a gateway into another career down the road? Whenever you apply for a new job, you might want to consider these questions first. How will this new position fit into your future plans? Five years might feel like a long time, but it flies by fast! Working as a respiratory therapist will give you the clinical experience that could open the doors to other fields of medicine. Some people consider pursuing a related career, like becoming a Pulminary Function Technologist. If you enjoy working in a laboratory, you may be interested in working as a Biological Technician. If you have completed your associate's degree, then there is always room for more education! Think about where you'd like to see yourself in five years and work backwards to identify the milestone goals you will need to accomplish in order to get there.
When you think of a stressful situation at work, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Now think of how you responded. Do you feel like you were able to deal with the stress or did it overwhelm you? If the stress was too much, what are you doing now to make sure you can handle it better next time? The interviewer wants to know that you can deal with stress at work and in your life. Here's an example of how to respond: "When I start to feel stressed, I take a step back and remind myself to stay calm. I also take time to think through any challenges I'm facing to troubleshoot or problem solve."
"When I start to feel stressed, I take a step back and remind myself to stay calm. I also take time to think through any challenges I'm facing to troubleshoot or problem solve."
For many who work in helping fields like medicine or non-profits, they are driven by their knowledge that they can make a difference. You may have personally experienced the benefits of working with a respiratory therapist. Perhaps that motivated you to work in the field. This question is a good one to reflect on before the interview. Why do you like helping others? What do you get out of the experience?
Draw from what you have learned in your experience and education. If a patient is more acidic, how does that affect the oxygen going to the brain? What do you know about Respiratory Acidosis and acid-base balance? Be sure to familiarize yourself with terms like these before the interview.
What is your favorite aspect of the job? What do you enjoy about working on a team of professionals who share in your mission to help others? Explain what you like about your job and why. Maybe you enjoy encouraging your patients and seeing them light up as they make progress. Maybe you are interested in the rapidly changing technology that you get to use as a part of the treatment you offer.
This question helps the interviewer gauge how you might fit into the work environment and, ultimately, how you will mesh with the team. Explaining your work style and what motivates you will help them to better understand that you would be an excellent fit. Be sure to know what sort of work environment to expect. You want to be able to describe yourself in terms that are relevant to the position you are interviewing for. "I work well independently, motivated by deadlines and prioritizing tasks to meet them. I also enjoy working in a team environment. I can adapt to working with different personalities and I enjoy interacting with patients and helping them in their treatment." Expressing your ability to work with others and independently shows your flexibility. Work environments can change depending on the staff or business ownership. Explain what you bring to the table and how you are able to adapt to fast-paced or challenging work environments.
"I work well independently, motivated by deadlines and prioritizing tasks to meet them. I also enjoy working in a team environment. I can adapt to working with different personalities and I enjoy interacting with patients and helping them in their treatment."
Okay, let's back up a bit. What do you know about your potential employer? There's no way for you to tell the interviewer anything remotely close to what they want to hear until you know something about them. This question is similar to "Why do you want to work for us," in that it addresses some of those factors you look for in a company, like their values and their work environment. Interviewers want to hear that you are interested enough in the company to research their accomplishments, employee reviews and recent innovations or changes they are implementing. Now that you have done the research and you have some work experience under your belt, how would you respond to this question? What's important to you in a job?
"Why do you want to work for us,"
Share something you learned while completing your training that will benefit you and your clients as you work in this new role. Giving an example will help the interviewer to get a clearer picture of your qualifications. Talk about how working with a particular client taught you about a specific breathing problem and how to apply airway management techniques. Demonstrate how your experience has influenced your problem solving skills. You can share how the therapist you trained under taught you how to administer anesthesia during surgery or any other procedures you may be expected to know how to do on the job.
Are you energized by helping others? Are you excited when you get to work with coworkers to solve problems? Would you prefer to work in a group of people than alone? Most likely, you are a people person! Now you just need to know how to talk about it. Give a brief example: "I enjoy working as a team at work because I learn so much from my coworkers. I like being able to support others and help out in any way I can. You can learn so much from people, especially your patients." Explain how you enjoy working with others at work, whether with coworkers or patients, or both!
"I enjoy working as a team at work because I learn so much from my coworkers. I like being able to support others and help out in any way I can. You can learn so much from people, especially your patients."
Of course you do! It may be intimidating to be asked this during an interview when you are already under pressure. All you have to do is tell the interviewer that you are accustomed to meeting deadlines, having a busy workload, and managing stress at work. Be sure to mention that you never let pressure get the best of you, and you know how to delegate work to the right people to help you manage your workload.
Time management is a skill. As you learn to prioritize your daily tasks and start using tools and tricks to help focus your attention, you become more effective with your time. Remember, everyone is different! It helps to understand your weaknesses and what types of environments aid in your productivity. Some people work better late at night while others prefer early morning shifts. After considering these factors, how would you respond to this question?
"I make sure that I am clear on expectations and required tasks, asking questions to clarify to prevent misunderstandings. I am thorough with patients, making detailed assessments before treatment and keeping track of time during visits."
Sometimes you work with a patient who has a bigger issue that requires other forms of therapy that you cannot provide. For example, a patient may have been diagnosed with sleep apnea and after multiple therapy appointments come to find there is a worse problem, like a pharyngeal obstruction that requires surgery. It's important for you to understand that it's okay if this happens. Your patient will be better off if you admit that you think there is another problem that needs attention outside of your realm of therapy. If you have done research and learned about some of these related conditions, the interviewer might be interested. Speak from experience. If your experience is limited, be honest. It's okay to answer a question with "I haven't experienced that yet, but if I did, I would..." rather than faking it.
"I haven't experienced that yet, but if I did, I would..."
Respiratory Therapy is a growing field because of the growing need for practitioners who can treat the pulmonary issues that the population faces every day. You might have learned about it through an anatomy class or through a friend who works in the healthcare field. What sparked your interest? If you have personal experience, explain how it influenced your motivation. If you have plans to pursue something different in the future, talk about how this role will help you to get there. This is a great opportunity to share your passion and talk about your career goals.
A fair response to this question would be, "It depends on who you talk to. I did my best to work well with everyone and I always put in 100%. I was consistent, dependable and driven." If you did something phenomenal, share it. Just be aware that you only want to share the facts that can be confirmed by anyone on your team your future boss could be in communication with. As a general rule of thumb, just be honest and be yourself. Think of the feedback you received from your boss and coworkers. Did they tell you consistently that you were doing a great job? Did you often meet for happy hours after work because you enjoyed each others company? Collaborative, enthusiastic and hard working are all great qualities you would hope to be described as. Think of some of the encouragement you have received at work and share it!
"It depends on who you talk to. I did my best to work well with everyone and I always put in 100%. I was consistent, dependable and driven."
Knowing your weakness only makes you stronger! Once you are aware of areas in your life that prevent you from being productive and successful, or that might interfere with relationships or attaining goals, you have the potential to make a greater impact wherever you are! Answering this question in an interview poses a bit of a challenge. You want to share something that will not prevent you from performing any of the responsibilities of the role. Instead, you want to share something that you are working to improve. This means PROACTIVELY. You are taking charge by watching TED Talks about the weakness, reading the latest-and-greatest book on the subject, or maybe you are taking a seminar at a nearby community center in the near future. Sometimes it's as simple as practice and repetition. The more you strengthen those weak muscles, the stronger they get. Show your interviewer that you want to excel in the role and that you want to grow by taking time to improve yourself!
Even though you have the credentials, you are working alongside professionals who are also highly qualified. They will respect you because of your hard work to get where you are, but you will have to earn credibility. How have you built rapport with your coworkers in the past? How have you developed solid co-working relationships?
"I always take time to get to know my coworkers when I start a new job. I value you those relationships, because I know that if I ever needed help or was asked a difficult question by a patient, I would need their help. I want to be able to support my teammates in the same way, so I prioritize making conversation and eating lunch with them."
Bronchitis, Lung Cancer, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, Respiratory Syncytial Virus... the list goes on and on! There are so many different conditions that you may encounter on the job. Describe the experience. Are there some conditions that are more difficult to treat? Which one are the most lethal? Do you respond differently depending on the sensitivity of the condition? Explain how you are able to provide consistent patient care for every situation you have handled.
"I stay calm and composed when issues arise. I slept through my alarm one time and knew I would be late for work. I called my boss immediately and then got ready as quickly as I could! I understand that my tardiness could affect both my coworkers and my patients." Proper planning will get you far, but sometimes life happens and you'll need a plan B. Think about some of the variables in your life that could affect your attendance at work. Sick children, traffic, car breakdowns... the list goes on. Most likely one of these issues has affected you before. How did you handle it? It may not be possible for everything to work out so smoothly, getting your shift covered or still making it to work on time. Your interviewer is looking to see that you are proactive and that you can handle the stress of unexpected situations that can arise.
"I stay calm and composed when issues arise. I slept through my alarm one time and knew I would be late for work. I called my boss immediately and then got ready as quickly as I could! I understand that my tardiness could affect both my coworkers and my patients."
Respiratory therapists, also known as respiratory care practitioners, evaluate, treat, and care for patients with breathing or other cardiopulmonary disorders. Practicing under the direction of a physician, respiratory therapists assume primary responsibility for all respiratory care therapeutic treatments and diagnostic procedures, including the supervision of respiratory therapy technicians.