In some cases, a patient will begin using oxygen therapy while in a nursing home, a hospice or a hospital. A doctor might order it and prescribe the dosage, but a nurse will be sent in to administer the oxygen. Nurses often play a major role in oxygen therapy use, not only because they are administering it on a regular basis, but they might also be educating the patient and the patient's family on its use.
Doctors are busy people, and they have many places to go and patients to see. A nurse who works at a hospital and is on call is there much more often and tends to the patients with a lot more hands on work, and will often be the ones instructing a patient, especially if the patient needs to bring their oxygen therapy home with them. Nurses are usually the ones to describe how it works, how important it is to not change the dosage setting, and how to use it properly.
If the patient has a hard time understanding and is not completely coherent, the nurse knows it is safer to instruct the family, along with the patient, to make sure the oxygen therapy is administered correctly. He or she knows how important it is for the patient to receive the proper dosage, since medical grade oxygen can be harmful if overdosed or under-dosed, just like with any other kind of medication.
An oxygen therapy patient might also have a nurse come and visit them once a week or so, to check on them and make sure they are doing fine. The nurse might take his or her vitals and do a quick pulse oximeter check, to make sure the patient is still receiving the right amount of oxygen, and it's bringing the blood oxygen to a safe level effectively. Many nurses do home visits to check on patients who are at a higher risk, no matter what the medical issue is, and lung diseases and the use of oxygen therapy is no different.
Nurses can also become active in educating a wider range of people about the dangers of smoking, how prevalent Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is, and how oxygen therapy and oxygen concentrators work. They might become active by attending medical conventions and conferences about the new developments in oxygen therapy use, so they can accurately relay the information to people, and so they can treat their patients with the most current knowledge.
They might tell people how important it is to get tested for COPD or other lung diseases, if you are having certain symptoms, and how important it is to get tested early. If a patient comes in and is having a hard time breathing, they will know the right questions to ask to see if the patient should be tested for COPD.