Respiratory physiologists work directly with patients, performing diagnostic tests as shown in the video. Essentially, we are looking at patients breathing, so how well they take in oxygen, and expel cardon dioxide. Patients attend the lung function lab due to unexplained shortness of breath, or if they have a lung condition such as Asthma, COPD, Fibrosis, or respiratory muscle disease.
We also see patients from other specialities such as cardiology, thoracic surgery, oncology, and neurology. To become a respiratory physiologist, you need a good level of education, which starts with your GCSE’s, particularly Maths, English and Science. You must then complete a recognised degree such as the Practitioner Training Programme (PTP). This is a 3-year BSc (Hons) undergraduate training scheme that includes work-based and academic learning. You will be employed by the hospital and enrolled on to the PTP at Sheffield Hallam University. Trainee physiologists who have a relevant degree, such as Sport and Exercise Science, can be trained in house and put through the Association for Respiratory Technology and Physiology (ARTP) professional examination so that they can gain equivalence to the PTP programme. Another route if you have a relevant degree would be the Scientific Training Programme (STP). This is a 3-year programme of work-based learning, supported by a university accredited master’s degree. Once completed, you will be a qualified Clinical Scientist.