Respiratory Therapists and Medical Assistants: Front Lines of Healthcare

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A person arrives at the clinic, walking slowly, complaining of shortness of breath. As a respiratory therapist, you may not know the patient’s health history, so you do a “work-up” of the patient to assess probable causes for his breathing trouble, similar to the work of an investigator. You investigate the patient’s symptoms, determine a course of action and develop treatments.

On a daily basis, respiratory therapists, or RTs, may conduct regular ventilator management for patients, review chest x-rays and read lab values to help diagnose problems patients are experiencing with their lungs and cardiopulmonary systems.

Every day is as different as the patients you encounter, and getting to know your patients and provide care for them is what makes respiratory care so meaningful, according to graduate Catie Dean.

“I wanted to get into healthcare, but nursing wasn’t for me. I really enjoy the patient interaction in my work every day. In a small town area like Prairie du Chien, patients who come to the hospital for respiratory problems instantly feel more comfortable; they know you are caring for them,” Dean expressed.

Hospitals, clinics and healthcare providers in northeast Iowa, as well as in neighboring states Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois, need skilled RTs to provide respiratory care. The demand is growing, and the starting salary is impressive. Learn more about the Respiratory Care program at

Medical Assistant

When you are admitted into a medical office or clinic, one of the first people to greet you may be a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA). These healthcare professionals possess a range of talents, from patient prep and scheduling, to checking vital signs and performing blood draws.

Frequently CMAs are needed in larger healthcare facilities in a “float” capacity, meaning their services are required for different specialized departments, including family medicine, critical care, oncology or pediatrics.

The Medical Assistant program at Northeast Iowa Community College opens up healthcare career possibilities. Becoming a CMA will allow you to become an instrumental part of a healthcare team.

The need for CMAs in northeast Iowa is growing! Learn more about the Medical Assistant program

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