Keeping Your Best RTs on Staff

Young RT Volunteers

Ask any manager and they will tell you that some employees are just better than others. Keeping those superstars on staff is top of mind for managers across the board, but in a profession like respiratory care where patients’ lives are at stake, it is paramount to ensuring quality care.

What makes certain RTs stand out from the crowd?

Defining excellence

Sheryle Barrett, MS, RRT, is director of cardiopulmonary services at Bethesda Health in Boynton Beach, FL, a 401-bed facility with a mission “to provide quality health services in a caring manner.”

She defines an exceptional RT as one who can work on their own but knows when they need help. These therapists know their area of specialization inside and out – whether that be the ICU, NICU, PICU, pediatrics, diagnostics, emergency care, or routine medical/surgical care – and are always willing to share their expertise with others on staff or in the hospital.

“They are calm under pressure,” said Barrett, “and have acute critical thinking skills.”

Therapists who impress follow the rules too.

“They are reliable, with minimal call outs and are always on time,” Barrett said.

Give them their head

What does Barrett do to keep these outstanding RTs on her staff? She says she tries to “give them their head” – meaning, she lets them handle their work assignments largely on their own. She also makes sure they have what they need to get the job done.

“I strive to give them the resources in supplies, equipment, and time that they need to do their job,” Barrett said. “I strive to honor scheduling requests.”

She believes empowering her best therapists to have as much control as possible over their work is what keeps them in her department.