Lung Function Technician

Helen Corrigan is a Lung Function Technician (sometimes called a Clinical Respiratory Physiologist) at the Royal London Hospital. Helen carries out diagnostic tests, such as tests to measure a patient’s lung volume and tests to measure how much and how and how fast air moves in and out of a patient’s lungs (spirometry tests).

Helen mostly works with adults, but three times a week she works in the children’s outpatient clinic, where children see Helen and other health professionals for their check-ups. On a typical day Helen has appointments with patients visiting the hospital for a check-up (outpatients), and sees patients who are staying in the hospital.

Lung function tests are highly specialised, and part of Helen’s job involved checking the equipment and running quality control tests to ensure that the results are as accurate as possible.

Helen worked as a chemistry technician in a university before taking a career break to start a family. When she went back to work she “wanted to do something a bit different but still in the scientific field”, so she started to train as a lung function technician.

Helen’s favourite part of her job is carrying out the tests on patients and “making sure that patients can actually perform well, because with lung function tests it’s the patients that have to put in the effort, and we encourage them to make the best effort at the test”.