Managing Multiple RC Departments

Young RT Volunteers

July 2, 2018

As large health systems continue incorporating hospitals, a new kind of respiratory care manager has emerged – one that is responsible for RC operations not just in one facility but in two, three, four, or more.

AARC Young Volunteers
Holly Williams oversees eight respiratory care departments in her position as RC system director at Greenville Health System.

Holly Williams, BS, RRT, holds that kind of job at Greenville Health System (GHS).

Always on the move

“Greenville Health System is an eight-hospital system that covers the upstate of South Carolina,” she said. “Each hospital has a respiratory department that reports up to me as the system director.”

There are about 300 RTs throughout the system, and managing this large cadre of respiratory therapists means she’s always on the move. While her office is located at the main hospital in the system — the Greenville Memorial Medical Campus — she rounds on a monthly basis at each of the seven community hospitals that comprise GHS as well.

She also hosts a monthly Respiratory Care Council meeting on the main campus that brings all RT leaders together to discuss issues of concern.

Williams says one of her biggest challenges has been to systemize policies and protocols for all eight of her departments. A system educator helps her manage the area by providing education and follow up to ensure protocols are both understood and being followed.

Another challenge is finding the time to adequately support the facility-specific leaders on her teams.

“It is important to me that I be supportive and available for my leaders at any time,” Williams said. “They all know that I will make myself available anytime they need – they don’t have to wait for monthly rounding.”

Team building is key

What should managers consider before taking on a role like hers? Williams believes communication skills are paramount.
“It’s important to have regular, honest, and open communication in a way that works for the team,” emphasizes the system director.

She also says managers seeking out a position like this need to recognize the importance of building a leadership team that can work for you and with you to achieve success for the system as a whole. She stresses the need to delegate responsibilities, and says you can’t be afraid to admit when you are wrong and start over as many times as it takes to achieve your goals.

“Learn the different areas and communities, understand and recognize the differences in facilities while creating systemization, and be patient with your team while they learn your expectations,” Williams said. “Consistency and humility will ultimately help to create an engaged team of therapists that will provide great quality patient care.”