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Respiratory Therapy Technicians Interview
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25 Questions and Answers by
| Krista has been on thousands of interview panels hiring EMS professionals and firefighters. With over 30 years of experience as an EMS Educator, she has developed curriculum and training materials to assist those interviewing for these positions.

Question 1 of 25

Describe a situation when you demonstrated initiative and took action without waiting for direction. What was the outcome?

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Respiratory Therapy Technicians Interview Questions

  1. 1.

    Describe a situation when you demonstrated initiative and took action without waiting for direction. What was the outcome?

      The interviewer is looking for an employee that can take the initiative and work independently. Respiratory Therapy Technicians will often work with a Respiratory Therapist. Still, a situation might happen where you are working alone, and you need to be decisive and take action. Describe a situation where you took action without waiting for direction. This could be something that happened while working as a Respiratory Therapy Technician or in a previous job.

      Krista's Answer

      "I was administering a breathing treatment to a patient who had a history of asthma. The Respiratory Therapist got a call to check on another patient and left me alone. About five minutes later, the patient started clutching his chest and became very pale and diaphoretic. He was sitting in a chair, and I pushed the call button for the nurse and moved the patient to a hospital bed. I grabbed some electrodes and started hooking him up to the monitor. The nurse came in and took over, while I called the Respiratory Therapist to give him an update. Soon after, the patient went into cardiac arrest and we started CPR. A code was called, and a team came in with the crash cart. Fortunately, the patient survived after they took him into surgery."

  2. 2.

    Tell me about your past training and education.

      Include any past training and education pertinent to the Respiratory Therapy Technician position. Describe what certifications or licensure you have received. If you are currently taking courses related to the job description, tell the interviewer what courses you are enrolled in. The interviewer wants to see if you have the appropriate credentials to work as a Respiratory Therapy Technician.

      Krista's Answer

      "I went to EMT school and received my EMT certificate. While working on the ambulance, I became interested in becoming a Respiratory Therapy Technician. I received my associate's degree in Respiratory Care, passed the exams, and became licensed in this state. I also have my CPR, PALS, ACLS, AND BTLS certifications, which are current."

  3. 3.

    Why should we hire you?

      This is the time to tell the interviewer that you have the skills and experience to be a great employee for their company. Describe some qualities that make you an excellent Respiratory Therapy Technician and how you will be a great addition to their team. Show your passion for the job when answering why they should hire you.

      Krista's Answer

      "You should hire me because I have the skills and experience you are looking for. Not only do I have a strong work ethic, but I provide excellent customer service and place the patient's needs first. I am honest, reliable, and compassionate and believe I will be the perfect addition to your team."

  4. 4.

    How do you handle stressful situations?

      Working as a Respiratory Therapy Technician can be a stressful job. You will have sick patients who are struggling to breathe and anxious family members. You must be able to be calm and work quickly in stressful situations while simultaneously treating and reassuring the patient and family members. Describe how you handle stressful situations while remaining professional.

      Krista's Answer

      "I work in stressful situations every day. The way that I handle stressful situations is by remaining calm and professional. Patients and their families are looking to me for help, and I cannot do my job effectively if I do not remain calm. Sometimes that takes me having to take a few deep breaths and focusing on the situation that is before me."

  5. 5.

    How would you define great patient care?

      Excellent patient care and customer service are the backbones of the medical industry. If patients are not happy with their provider and the way they were treated, they will go elsewhere. The interviewer wants to see that you have the qualities to provide great patient care, and it will show in your answer. Empathy, compassion, and good listening skills are important qualities to have to provide great care.

      Krista's Answer

      "I define great patient care as treating every patient how I would want to be treated. I believe being empathetic to the patient's experience is essential. I treat every patient with compassion and empathy and listen to what they have to say. I believe it is important that every patient feels that they are receiving excellent customer service and that their provider cares about them as a person."

  6. 6.

    How would you remain calm if you had a patient in severe respiratory distress?

      Working as a Respiratory Therapy Technician, you need to have the ability to remain calm in stressful situations. You also need the skills to help put your patient at ease as they are struggling to breathe. Explain to the interviewer how you understand the need to work quickly and efficiently to help patients in respiratory distress while staying calm and putting the patient and family members at ease.

      Krista's Answer

      "I remain calm by feeling confident in my role as a Respiratory Therapy Technician. If I am not calm, it will make the patient and family members more stressed. My goal is to put the patient and family at ease while I am administering breathing treatments. I explain what I am doing the entire time so they understand how I am trying to help them. When they see that I am calm, they realize I am proficient at my job, and it seems to calm them down."

  7. 7.

    Tell me about a patient you couldn't treat as well as they needed.

      This question shows your compassion and empathy for others. When telling a story about someone you couldn't help as well as you would like, the interviewer can see on your face what emotions you are feeling. Respiratory Therapy Technicians need to be compassionate, caring individuals.

      Krista's Answer

      "When I was doing my clinical training in the emergency department, I had a patient who suddenly started vomiting large amounts of blood. There was so much blood I couldn't keep up with suctioning fast enough. I couldn't even give him oxygen because the blood kept coming so fast. I felt helpless. He ended up going into cardiac arrest and died shortly after. The doctor said he had esophageal varices and bled out."

  8. 8.

    Do you want to become a Respiratory Therapist in the future?

      This question shows the interviewer your career goals and professional development. If you want to become a Respiratory Therapist, explain why and what steps you will take to get there. If you do not want to work as a Respiratory Therapist, be honest and tell them why. Or, you may have a different career path and want to become a nurse or doctor.

      Krista's Answer

      "I thought that I wanted to become a Respiratory Therapist, but after working in the emergency department during my clinicals, I became intrigued with the emergency room nurses' position. So, I am switching gears and studying to become a registered nurse. But, I want to continue working as a Respiratory Therapy Technician until my schooling is complete, which will be in four years."

  9. 9.

    Have you performed any medical procedures on an actual patient?

      The interviewer wants to hear about your experience with patient care. Describe any procedures you have performed and the outcome. If you do not have experience with patients, explain procedures you learned and performed during your training.

      Krista's Answer

      "While I was training for my Respiratory Therapy Technician license, I rode along with an ambulance company for two months. The paramedics I rode with allowed me to take vital signs and provide oxygen therapy to the patients who required assistance. I have administered Albuterol treatments, ventilated patients who were intubated and in cardiac arrest, and assisted with a humidified oxygen treatment for a child who had croup."

  10. 10.

    Why do you want to work in this field?

      Interviewers are looking for something personal, not the typical answer that you want to help people. Most individuals working in healthcare want to help people. Think about a specific time in your life when you discovered you wanted to be a Respiratory Therapy Technician. It could be that you want to be part of a team, or you have a family member in the field. Or, you might have a personal experience where a Respiratory Therapy Technician helped you or a family member.

      Krista's Answer

      "I want to work in this field because my little sister has asthma. Growing up, she would have severe asthma attacks where she would need to go to the hospital. I spent many hours watching the Respiratory Therapy Technicians and Respiratory Therapists work to help my sister with her breathing. They were very calm and professional and always made my sister feel comfortable. I decided then that I wanted to work in the same industry and help others like they helped my sister."

  11. 11.

    Describe how you would handle a situation if you were required to finish multiple tasks by the end of the day, and there was no conceivable way that you could finish them.

      It is important in the medical field to be able to multi-task and delegate. The interviewer is looking to see how you can accomplish your tasks by delegating duties and prioritizing what the most important tasks to be completed are. This also shows your critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

      Krista's Answer

      "First, I would prioritize the tasks by their level of importance. I would then ask if any of my coworkers or respiratory therapist had time to help, and if so, I would delegate some of the tasks. If I were able to work overtime, I would keep working until everything was complete. If overtime were not approved, I would push off the least important tasks until the next shift."

  12. 12.

    How would you describe your previous boss or respiratory therapist?

      You want to answer in a respectful, positive manner. Interviewers do not want to hear that you thought your previous boss was too demanding or placed too much work and responsibilities on you. They want to see that you are a team player who gets along well with your superiors. Even if you did not enjoy your previous boss or respiratory therapist, find something complimentary about them.

      Krista's Answer

      "The last respiratory therapist I worked with was very kind to the patients and me. She was a great mentor, had an excellent bedside manner, and taught me invaluable skills. It was important to her that everyone was treated fairly and with the best customer service we could provide."

  13. 13.

    Tell me about your clinical experience.

      When describing your clinical experience, choose positive aspects that stood out for you. Do not describe anything that would sound like a negative experience. The interviewer wants to see how you handled your clinical time and what you learned from it.

      Krista's Answer

      "My clinical experience was great. I had an excellent mentor who made me feel calm and confident even though I had never worked in the medical field before. I learned a lot from him about bedside manners and how to have empathy for all patients, even if they are difficult to work with. I discovered just how frightening it is for someone who cannot breathe and how much the breathing treatments and oxygen help. It was a great learning experience."

  14. 14.

    How do you handle difficult patients who don't want to listen to you?

      It is important to remain calm and professional when working with difficult patients. Patients can be difficult if they have trouble breathing or do not understand what treatment or procedures you are administering. Explain how you listen to the patient so you can understand what the problem is, and then patiently and calmly try to help them after explaining what it is you are going to do. Sometimes you might have to get a spouse or family member involved to reason with the patient if they are just stubborn.

      Krista's Answer

      "When I have difficult patients, I try to figure out why they are difficult. It might be because they do not understand what I am saying, they might be fearful of doctors and hospitals, or they are just stubborn. I listen to what they are saying and then ask questions to see if I understand why they are being difficult. If I can explain in simpler terms what procedure I am going to be doing or alleviate their fear of hospitals, I find they often become less difficult to work with. If they are just plain stubborn, I enlist the help of a significant other or family member to help talk to them."

  15. 15.

    Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

      The interviewer wants to see what goals you have for professional development in the next five years. It might be that you want to go to school to become a Respiratory Therapist, or you may choose to switch careers. There is time and training that goes into hiring a new employee, and the interviewer is looking to see that you are planning on remaining in their organization. Describe any courses you plan on taking in the next five years that pertain to your industry.

      Krista's Answer

      "I see myself working for your company as a Respiratory Therapist in five years. I will start my training next year after gaining a little more experience as a Respiratory Therapy Technician. I am also interested in training new Respiratory Therapy Technicians and hope to be doing that when I become a Respiratory Therapist."

  16. 16.

    Do you work well under pressure?

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  17. 17.

    How are your communication skills?

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  18. 18.

    What is your greatest weakness? What are you doing to improve it?

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  19. 19.

    What is your greatest strength?

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  20. 20.

    What are your career goals?

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  21. 21.

    There are times when we are placed under extreme pressure on the job. Tell me what you would do if the Respiratory Therapist or another healthcare worker yelled at you on the job in front of a patient.

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  22. 22.

    Tell me about a demanding situation in which you managed to remain calm and composed.

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  23. 23.

    What would your previous coworkers say about you?

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  24. 24.

    Why did you choose this profession?

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  25. 25.

    What types of respiratory illnesses do you dislike treating?

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