› Respiratory Procedures In Nursing

Essential Respiratory Procedures In Nursing

The nursing skills involved in the respiratory system for the most part, pretty common place in most jobs. However, some times, nurses work in facilities where there is a respiratory therapy department. They may take over some of those responsibilities. (One should never complain about extra help!) 

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With nursing being such a hands on job, it’s best if you keep your skills up regardless of how much help there is. If you don’t use it, you lose it, as they say.  So in case you need a refresher on respiratory procedures for nursing, just stop by here. 

A few interesting facts, about the respiratory system just in case you didn’t know:

  • The lungs are not muscles. They do not expand themselves in order to fill with oxygen. That is the job of the diaphragm. 
  • The diaphragm is a muscle and pulls down towards the abdominal cavity. As it does, it pulls the lungs down and then they suck in the air. That happens because the pleural cavity (where the lungs live) is a vacuum.  So when the diaphragm pulls down the lungs have to follow and then by default they fill with air.
  • Lungs have little hairs called cilia that move mucus and the dirt it traps up and out of the lungs when a person coughs. When someone is a smoker, those little cilia get glued down and stop working. 
  • When the person stops smoking eventually the gunk in the lungs begins to loosen and the cilia begin to start working. At that point, some of the nastiest looking garbage will begin to get coughed up until the lungs have cleaned out.

I also have a weird theory that tar and nicotine coat the lungs enough to prevent any germs from taking hold. Which is why I never got colds until I quit smoking. 

When I quit, I got every cold and flu imaginable until my immune system learned how to fight them all off. It was a miserable year.

Just sayin’…. Anyway, back to the real nursing stuff.


  • Alveoli: (how to pronounce) Tiny sacs in the lungs that fill up with air and exchange oxygen for carbon dioxide.     
  • Bronchi: (how to pronounce) Two largest branches forming from the trachea and going into the lungs.   
  • Diaphragm: (how to pronounce) sheet of muscle located below the lungs separating the thoracic and abdominal cavities 
  • Epiglottis: (how to pronounce) Flap of elastic cartilage that covers the larynx. It shuts off the trachea when swallowing to keep food out of the lungs. 
  • Pleura: (how to pronounce) A sac that encases each lung and lines the thoracic cavity.

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