Respiratory Therapists (RTs) must use clear and effective communication techniques to provide information to support safe, competent, ethical patient/client care.

Performance Requirements

Communicate pertinent information clearly and accurately to patients/clients, healthcare team members, and others through verbal, non-verbal, and/or written means.
Deliver information in a manner that acknowledges individual diversity and health literacy and facilitates patients’/clients’ understanding of pertinent information.
Demonstrate professionalism and respect in all forms of communication (e.g., verbal, non-verbal, written, social media).
Use information communication technologies appropriately to provide safe care to patients/clients.
Use appropriate techniques for the accurate, secure, and timely transfer of information to other healthcare team members.
Refrain from making false, deliberately misleading or offensive statements, contrary to the interests of the public or the honour and dignity of the profession, whether orally or in writing.
Abide by privacy legislation and understand when it is appropriate to share, what information may be shared, and to whom it must be shared.
Document every patient/client interaction in a timely manner, using the most suitable format.

Patient / Client Expected Outcome

Patients/clients can expect that RTs communicate clearly and professionally when providing care.


Appropriately refers to in accordance with ethical, legal, technical and/or clinical requirements of professional practice.

Communicates refers to “give or exchange thoughts, feelings, information… by writing, speaking, etc.; to exchange thoughts, feelings, or information easily or effectively.”[1] It implies a two-way communication process between the speaker and recipient involving active listening and reception.

Competent refers to “having the requisite knowledge, skills and judgment/abilities to perform safely, effectively and ethically and applying that knowledge, skills and judgment/abilities to ensure safe, effective and ethical outcomes for the patient/client.”[2]

Healthcare team refers to “peers, colleagues, and other healthcare professionals (regulated and non-regulated)”.[3]

Patient/client refers to individuals and their families requiring care or services. This may also include his/her substitute decision-maker or guardian.[4]

Professionalism or professional conduct is a term often used to describe the behaviours that are expected of individuals who hold a certain role in society. A “professional” is typically someone who has obtained skills that are recognized as requiring specific, intensive training and who applies those skills in a positon impacting others (e.g., engineer, lawyer, RT, PT, MD, etc.). Professionals are often held to moral, ethical, and legal standards because of this potential impact.[5]

Timely refers to “happening at the correct or most useful time: not happening too late.”[6]


  1. Adapted from Dictionary.Com. (2017). Online Dictionary. Available at:
  2. College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario. (2010). A Commitment to Ethical Practice. Available at: 
  3. College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario. (2010). A Commitment to Ethical Practice. Available at: 
  4. Adapted from College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario. (2010). A Commitment to Ethical Practice. Available at: 
  5. Adapted from College of Respiratory Therapists of Ontario. (2017). Conduct Counts! Available at:
  6. Merriam-Webster. (2016). Online Dictionary. Available at: