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Published on May 10, 2021

Cardiopulmonary Services

The cardiopulmonary services department at Johnston Health is made up of cardiac and vascular sonographers and respiratory therapists. All of these professionals play a distinct part in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with breathing problems, but they also have distinct differences. Interested in learning more? 

Cardiac Sonographer 

Cardiac sonographers use ultrasound equipment to conduct a test called an echocardiogram, or echo, that creates a picture of a patient’s heart. Echocardiograms are the primary way physicians diagnose heart problems in patients. Whitney, a cardiac sonographer in Johnston Health’s cardiopulmonary services department, says that working with doctors to help patients is the most rewarding part of her job. “It's an amazing feeling working a job we love, with colleagues we respect, and performing echoes to assist doctors with treating patients.” 

Vascular Sonographer 

Vascular sonographers also use ultrasound equipment to capture images of a patient's veins and arteries. These images can determine important things about a patient’s blood flow, including whether they have blocked or reduced flow of blood in the major arteries of the neck, which can lead to stroke. 

Respiratory Therapist 

Did you know that, every year, approximately 8.1 million U.S. adults visit the emergency department as a result of breathing problems from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? That’s why the work of respiratory therapists is so important. Respiratory therapists help treat patients for problems with their lungs and breathing. They work with doctors and nurses to give patients oxygen, administer drugs to the lungs and manage any other interventions that may be necessary to keep a patient breathing. “It’s an exciting job, with a variety of circumstances from day to day, especially at Johnston Health where all therapists rotate from the adult ICU, to the emergency department for patients of all ages, to the Level 2 nursery, to the medical and surgical floors,” Sam Thornton, manager of cardiopulmonary services, says. 

Are any of these positions right for you?

Thornton says the hours are long, but Johnston Health values work/life balance and offers a flexible work schedule that fits the individual. Most professionals in the cardiopulmonary department work for six days in every 14-day pay period.  

”It’s a challenging profession that’s definitely not boring and receives appreciation from patients, families, and other members of the health care team,” Thornton says. “We work hard, but there’s no greater feeling knowing that you’ve made a tremendous difference in another person’s life.” 

Just 1.5 miles from Johnston Health’s main campus is Johnston Community College, which offers excellent two-year education and certificate programs for cardiovascular sonography and other cardiopulmonary jobs. 


For more information about jobs in the cardiopulmonary services department at Johnston Health, visit our careers page. 

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