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Critical Care Medicine

Respiratory Therapy Program

Education Program

SickKids Paediatrics Critical Care Program is the primary training site for respiratory therapy students from The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, Canadore College and St. Claire College. The Respiratory Therapy Department also provides in-house training in paediatric critical care for new respiratory therapists, inter-professional team members and paramedics.

Registered Respiratory Therapists (RRT) are integral members of the Critical Care team providing cardio-respiratory support to acutely ill patients. They have specialized knowledge and skills in mechanical ventilation, oxygen therapy and airway management. Many of the RRTs also have advanced training in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and other extracorporeal therapies such as the NOVA Lung and Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT).

RRTs joining the Critical Care Team undergo extensive training in paediatric cardio-respiratory care. The orientation typically includes two weeks of didactic and lab training, followed by four weeks of mentored shifts with an RRT, at the bedside.  After completing this time, new RRT staff are given the opportunity to provide feedback about their experience and then attend an additional lecture day to cover advanced topics and any outstanding issues. 

Ongoing education is coordinated by two Respiratory Therapy clinical specialists; one with a focus on the PICU and the other with a focus on the CCCU.The CCU is staffed with six RRTs, 24-hours per day, 365 days per year, with at least two of the six being Certified ECMO Specialists.  One Charge RRT takes on the leadership role per shift, maintaining communication with the Charge RN’s in both PICU and CCU, and ensuring the RRT team is supported throughout their shift.   Additionally, one member of the team is assigned to the Code Blue Team for their shift; providing hospital wide response to acute emergencies.

RRTs are involved in a variety of initiatives within the CCU, including committee work, research, quality improvement, and implementation of best practices. The CCU RT Professional Practice Group (PPG) meets regularly to examine clinical practice and make recommendations for practice changes, new therapies or strengthening core services.

For more information, please contact:

Leanne Davidson 
- Critical Care Respiratory Therapy Educator

Critical Care Medicine

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)

555 University Ave
RM 2849
Toronto, ON  
M5G 1X8


Phone: 416-813-6486

Fax: 416-813-7299

email: leanne.davidson@sickkids.ca