nurse using stethoscope to listen to patient heartbeat

Pulmonary Nursing

Learn How to Become a Pulmonary Nurse

Pulmonary nurses may also be referred to as respiratory nurses. These nurses work in hospitals or critical care units to care for patients with respiratory system disorders and lung impediments, such as pneumonia, asthma, or lung cancer.

Pulmonary nurses are responsible for tending to respiratory distressed patients and performing tests such as arterial blood gas tests (ABGs), caring for patients dependent on ventilators, providing tracheostomy care, and monitoring oxygen use, to name a few tasks.

Pulmonary nurses also work with patients and their families to educate them on respiratory illnesses and preventative measures, like teaching the dangerous effects of smoking and explaining why routine exercise is so important in pulmonary health.

Preparation Path

Get your BSN

Pass the NCLEX and become an RN

Pass the Certified Critical Care exam to become a certified pulmonary function technician (CPFT)

Typical Tasks

  • Monitoring and treating patients with respiratory and lung disorders
  • Performing tests and assessing action after interpreting the results
  • Providing tracheostomy care
  • Treating patients dependent on ventilators
  • Providing treatments such as suctioning or assisted breathing
  • Monitoring patient’s comfort and manage pain
  • Educating patient and family members about prevention and healthy habits to avoid respiratory disorders

Employment Settings

  • Hospitals
  • Intensive care units
  • Critical care facilities
  • Hospice care
  • Home health services
  • Long-term care
  • Nursing homes
  • Physicians’ offices

Annual Salary Range

$50,000 – $101,000


Certified Pulmonary Function Technician (CPFT), RN, Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC)

Education Requirements


Ready to take the first step to become a pulmonary nurse?