Oh Boy, It’s Skills Day

photo of gloved medical professional holding an ambu bag

Competency assessments are a fact of life for clinicians in all fields of practice and respiratory care is no exception. Taking time to demonstrate expertise in skills helps ensure that each staff member truly is competent to deliver hands-on care to patients.

And performing well during skills days can boost your career as well, because managers may naturally look favorably on staff who pass with flying colors.

At Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, MI, Rena Laliberte, BS, RRT, works hard to make the experience as enjoyable as possible for staff in the respiratory care department.

“Every year we hold an annual skills fair to refresh not-so-frequently-used skills, hands-on BLS, and conduct education sessions for our staff,” said Laliberte, clinical education specialist and emergency room coordinator.

Tips for planning your skills day:

  • Gather staff input – Topics for the session come from staff members themselves, who are asked to weigh in on what should be included in skills day via a questionnaire.
  • Offer multiple time slots – The event takes place in the hospital’s simulation center and runs five days a week, eight hours a day, for two weeks, giving staff the chance to come in and complete the stations at their convenience.
  • Provide food – “They are paid for their time, and are provided food,” Laliberte said. Getting paid certainly eases the pain of having to complete the competency assessments, but she says the snacks that are provided — which she notes run the gamut from healthy to “positively sinful” — play a big part in keeping everyone in good spirits as well. This year she even decided to bring in lunch!

Setting up competency assessments in this manner — offering plenty of times when staff can come in, paying them for their time, and feeding them in the process — has paid off for the department at Henry Ford.

“It rolls fairly smoothly, they stay on time and on task, and leave feeling accomplished and full,” Laliberte said.