13 SMART Goals Examples for Respiratory Therapists

Respiratory therapists are highly trained medical professionals who use their expertise to help those with breathing-related illnesses. As with any profession, setting goals is an integral part of success.

SMART is a goal framework commonly used to set goals and measure progress. In this post, we will discuss some examples of SMART goals tailored for respiratory therapists and discuss their effectiveness.

What is a SMART Goal?

The SMART system will enable respiratory therapists to establish practical goals for success. SMART is an acronym for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.

Let’s dive deeper into each SMART component:


The beauty of developing specific goals is that they provide direction and focus for your career. You give yourself something tangible to work towards while also helping you identify opportunities for growth and development.

Specificity ensures you don’t waste time on irrelevant pursuits and overlook critical details necessary for success. You’ll have a higher sense of achievement, boosting morale and fueling your passion for the job.


To succeed in this role, respiratory therapists must make sure their goals are measurable—this criterion is essential to success. Measurable goals allow respiratory therapists to track progress toward achieving specific outcomes.

For example, suppose a therapist aims to “enhance the lung function of a patient with COPD.” They could measure changes in the patient’s spirometry results. Doing so allows therapists to adjust their treatment plans to foster optimal patient outcomes.


Setting goals that are too lofty can often lead to frustration and burnout. Instead, try to be realistic when developing your career objectives. Consider factors such as your current skill set, available resources and support systems, and the demands of your job.


Establishing meaningful goals that reflect your values can motivate you to reach your desired outcome. When faced with difficulties, your core values will serve as a guiding force and help you remain steadfast.


With a deadline, you have a sense of urgency to reach an objective. We avoid procrastinating and delaying taking action because there is an immediate consequence for doing so. Plus, timelines foster accountability—if we don’t meet the timeline, we know we have failed our task.

13 SMART Goals Examples for Respiratory Therapists

Here are 13 examples of SMART goals for respiratory therapists:

1. Increase Patient Satisfaction

“For 6 months, I’ll strive to increase patient satisfaction by implementing a survey for patients that measures their overall experience with our services. I want to use the feedback to improve our practices and better serve our patients.”

Specific: The SMART goal details the overall objective and how it will be reached.

Measurable: Surveys can be used to measure patient satisfaction.

Attainable: This could be accomplished by working with the patient services team to create a survey and analyze the results.

Relevant: This goal relates to patient satisfaction because it allows the team to get valuable patient feedback.

Time-based: The statement has a 6-month window for completion.

2. Enhance Respiratory Therapy Training

“I will take three professional development courses related to respiratory therapy this year to stay updated on the latest trends in the field. I’ll also use this training to better understand the needs of my patients and provide more comprehensive care.”

Specific: This goal outlines the number of courses you must take and how this will benefit your practice.

Measurable: You can track how many courses you’ve taken and how your practice has been positively impacted.

Attainable: Professional development courses are readily available for respiratory therapists.

Relevant: These courses will help you stay updated in the field and better understand your patients’ needs.

Time-based: Goal achievement is expected after one whole year.

3. Utilize Interdisciplinary Collaboration

“To improve patient outcomes, I will learn and utilize the collaborative practice model to build relationships with coworkers of other disciplines within 12 months. I hope to use this model to work together to best meet the needs of the patients in our care.”

Specific: You have a clear plan—learn and use the collaborative practice model.

Measurable: Assess your progress every three months to determine how well you meet your goal.

Attainable: The collaborative practice model is easy to learn and use, so it’s a feasible goal.

Relevant: This goal relates to your primary objective of improving patient outcomes.

Time-based: You should expect goal attainment within 12 months.

4. Improve Quality of Care

“I’ll implement a new respiratory therapy treatment protocol that reduces patient wait time and improves the quality of care. I will use evidence-based research to design the protocol and have it approved by senior staff within four months.”

Specific: The goal outlines the objective, how to achieve it, and the timeline.

Measurable: Measure the impact of the protocol, such as shorter wait times and improved quality of care.

Attainable: Using evidence-based research to design the protocol is feasible within the deadline.

Relevant: This SMART goal is relevant to improving the quality of care for patients.

Time-based: The statement has a four-month timeline attached to it.

5. Advance Career Opportunities

“I want to earn certifications in critical care and neonatal respiratory therapy by the end of the year. That will allow me to become a more valuable employee and demonstrate my expertise in these specialized areas.”

Specific: The goal is to acquire certifications in specific respiratory therapy fields.

Measurable: This is evaluated by earning certifications in critical care and neonatal respiratory therapy.

Attainable: If the necessary coursework is completed, this goal is definitely possible.

Relevant: Earning certifications in specialized fields of respiratory therapy will make one a more valuable employee.

Time-based: The time frame for this particular goal is the end of the year.

6. Expand Clinical Knowledge

“I will expand my clinical knowledge by attending 8 continuing education sessions within the next year to provide more informed patient care. I’ll also spend three hours a week reading and researching clinical advances in respiratory therapy.”

Specific: The goal is clear. You want to expand your clinical knowledge by attending continuing education sessions and spending time researching advances in the field.

Measurable: Ensure you attend 8 CE sessions and spend three hours per week researching advances.

Attainable: This is doable if you set aside the necessary time and resources.

Relevant: Attending sessions and researching advances in respiratory therapy is pertinent to your field of work.

Time-based: You will ideally meet this goal within the following year.

7. Follow Safety Regulations

“I want to ensure all safety regulations in my department are followed diligently. Within 6 months, I will review the current policies and take the necessary training to be aware of any changes or updates in safety regulations.”

Specific: The statement outlines the objective, what will be done to reach it, and the timeline.

Measurable: You could observe changes in safety regulations and compliance with safety protocols within the department.

Attainable: This is feasible as it requires reviewing policies and training to be aware of changes or updates.

Relevant: Following safety regulations is essential for the health and well-being of everyone.

Time-based: There is a 6-month timeline for completing this goal.

8. Manage Time Efficiently

“I will strive to use time management techniques to become more organized and productive in my day-to-day responsibilities as a respiratory therapist. I hope to become more efficient in my work over the two months ahead.”

Specific: This goal is explicit as the therapist has identified an action they will take to become more productive and efficient.

Measurable: Take note of how much time you have saved each day and how efficiently you manage tasks.

Attainable: Using efficient time management techniques can be achieved within two months.

Relevant: This goal is pertinent to the work of a respiratory therapist, as it will help them to manage their responsibilities.

Time-based: Two months are required to accomplish success.

9. Develop Professional Networks

“I’ll join at least two professional networks relevant to my field by the end of three months. I want to build strong relationships with individuals who can provide the advice and resources I need to further my career.”

Specific: The individual aims to join at least two professional networks in their field.

Measurable: You’ll determine progress by joining two professional networks in the allotted time.

Attainable: This is doable because it is within reach with the right resources and dedication.

Relevant: This goal is meaningful because it will help them build relationships that can further their career.

Time-based: The therapist will complete this goal within three months.

10. Strengthen Clinical Leadership Role

“I plan to become more involved in leading clinical projects at my medical center for the following year. By closely monitoring and helping guide each step of the process, I will help make sure that safety and efficacy standards are maintained.”

Specific: This example aims for a respiratory therapist to become more involved in leading clinical projects at their medical center.

Measurable: You can track the number of projects you’re able to lead.

Attainable: This statement is achievable with enough hard work and dedication.

Relevant: Becoming involved in clinical leadership roles is an excellent way for respiratory therapists to hone their skills.

Time-based: The SMART goal is to be achieved within the following year.

11. Promote Healthy Work-Life Balance

“Within three months, I will create a plan to promote healthy work-life balance among respiratory therapists. The plan will include education and awareness on the importance of work-life balance and resources to help staff better manage time and workload.”

Specific: The goal is well-defined, stating precisely the objective and how it will be accomplished.

Measurable: Staff surveys can check whether the plan effectively promotes work-life balance.

Attainable: You should follow the listed action items to reach success.

Relevant: This promotes a healthy work-life balance, benefiting employees and employers.

Time-based: There is a three-month timeline for accomplishing this goal.

12. Adapt to Technology

“To keep up with the latest trends in respiratory care, I’ll dedicate two hours every week to learning new technology related to my field for 7 months. I will become comfortable with new systems and tools and be able to use them effectively in my daily practice.”

Specific: The SMART goal is explicit because it states how you’ll learn new technologies related to your field.

Measurable: You can track your learning and measure if you’re becoming comfortable with new systems and tools.

Attainable: Learning new technology is undoubtedly doable after 7 months.

Relevant: The statement applies to staying up to date with the latest trends in respiratory care.

Time-based: Success is anticipated within 7 whole months.

13. Increase Financial Security

“I will increase my financial security by contributing to a retirement plan that is 15% of my monthly salary within four months. I want to make sure that my financial future is secure and that I can retire with enough money for a comfortable lifestyle.”

Specific: The goal is clear about what needs to be done (contribute to a retirement plan).

Measurable: You can measure the amount contributed to your retirement plan.

Attainable: This can be met if you commit to contributing a certain percentage of your salary.

Relevant: Increasing financial security is appropriate to ensure a comfortable retirement.

Time-based: Goal completion expected within four months.

Final Thoughts

Respiratory therapists should strive to make goal setting an integral component of their careers. SMART goals allow RTs to break down the elements of their jobs into actionable steps.

Using the examples provided, you can focus on the big picture while staying motivated and organized. As with any goal-setting process, therapists must be aware of the changing environment to adjust their approach as necessary.

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Rei Shen

Rei is the founder of Success in Depth. Based in Washington, he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science. He brings years of experience in goal setting to empower readers to reach their aspirations.