Pulmonary Nursing

by Howard Gerber on December 1, 2011

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Pulmonary nursing, also known as respiratory nursing, is one of the many specialties available to nurses. Choosing a specialty is a great choice for those who really love a specific field. It can also be a good way to find higher paying positions.

Job Expectations

A pulmonary nursing specialist will work with individuals undergoing pulmonary care. Patients with any sort of problem with the respiratory system or lungs may enter into their care. Diseases that affect these areas of the body include asthma, tuberculosis, cystic fibrosis, emphysema, and pneumonia. 

Experience and Education

The only way to become a pulmonary care nurse is to first be a registered nurse. For those still in nursing school, focus on the classes that center around respiratory care. Once degree work has been completed students will need to pass the NCLEX-RN. Look for positions that offer experience in the respiratory field to help move into the field permanently.


In the next decade the need for registered nurses is projected to increase. As the population ages, the need for pulmonary care specialists will grow as well making this an excellent specialty to consider.


There a number of areas a nurse specializing in pulmonary care can work such as doctor’s offices, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes. Allergy and asthma specialists have a special need for pulmonary nurses to help as they diagnose and treat their patients. Nursing homes are filled with patients who have difficulty breathing for a variety of reasons and nurses in this field must be well versed in respiratory treatments. There are also positions overseeing transplants and clinical trials.

Associations and Social Media

The primary association for pulmonary nurses within the United States is the Respiratory Nursing Society. They offer a wide range of professional development opportunities and a chance for colleagues to network. The counterpart in the United Kingdom is the Association of Respiratory Nurse Specialists who provides continuing education opportunities, host conferences, and make networking within the profession easier.

Twitter has several accounts worth following if you are interested in pulmonary care.

 @PulmonaryReview This account is maintained by the Pulmonary Reviews publication, an invaluable resource for physicians and those who specialize in pulmonary care. The account is updated several times a week.

 @RTmagazine This account is maintained by RT, a respiratory care publication. The account is updated several times a day.

 @ADVANCERespCare This account is maintained by the free trade publication, ADVANCE for Respiratory Care & Sleep Medicine.

 Are you a pulmonary nurse or are you interested in specializing in this field? If so, what made you decide on this field?


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