As a staff member in Rush University’s respiratory therapy program, Jonathan Brady Scott is keenly aware of the value of his work. As director of clinical education and an assistant professor at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Scott finds his efforts to help patients breathe more easily incredibly rewarding.

“The feeling you get when you use knowledge and skills to ease someone’s troubled breathing is irreplaceable,” he said. “As a respiratory therapist, you’re appreciated by patients and families every day.”Respiratory therapists focus on the caring for patients with cardiopulmonary disorders ranging from asthma and emphysema to major lung trauma, cardiac arrest and other life-threatening conditions. RTs can do everything from operating breathing machines in the emergency room to supporting someone trying to quit smoking.