Supervising RTs on the Nightshift

Supervising RTs on the NightshiftIn ‘Supervising RTs on the Nightshift,’ AARC member Chauncey Bailey shares the highs and lows of the role.

Let’s say you’ve been an RT for 4 or 5 years now.

Let’s say you started out on the nightshift.

Let’s also say you were never happier than when you had enough seniority to be switched to days.

But now you want to further your career. You have your eye on management. You think you’d be great at running the department or at least a small portion of it, and you want to get your foot in the door as soon as you can. Then a job opening is posted on the department bulletin board and it is for a supervisory position on . . . . you guessed it, the nightshift!

According to respiratory therapists who have taken on these types of positions, working as a nightshift supervisor does have its limitations. But it also offers opportunities that can help you hone your management skills.

Chauncey Bailey, RRT, a nightshift supervisor at Guam Regional Medical City on the island of Guam, has been doing the job since November of 2014. “The biggest challenge is keeping staffed, especially here in Guam in the middle of the Pacific,” he says. Making sure patients have what they need despite staffing limitations is a big part of his job and he tackles the problem the way health professionals have always tackled staff shortages.

“When in critical situations, general patient care has to be triaged in order to handle the more critical matters,” says the AARC member. “Patience and a positive attitude help overcome such situations.”

On the upside, he believes supervising on the nightshift affords a degree of freedom that isn’t always available during the day. “The advantage of working nights is freedom and independent thinking when handling critical matters,” says Bailey. Many times the therapist is the voice of authority in the middle of the night when specialists are less readily available to consult on a case.

His advice to others who may be thinking of taking on a nightshift supervisor position? “Look at the overall picture of why, and what, your job is and your overall goals. Most of all, put patients first!”