You do great work each day. Your entire department does great work. But, does anyone outside your department know about it?
Showing value—whether directly or indirectly—to colleagues beyond your department significantly helps build credibility and can boost morale.
Share What’s Important
“Find out what is important to your administrators and figure out how respiratory therapists can make an impact,” said Lyndee Knisely, MBA, RRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-SDS, AE-C, of Pennsylvania. “Focus less on what services are reimbursable and more on metrics that use cost avoidance.”
She offered the following topic examples administrators may find relevant: disease management/education, reducing length of stay, reduce infection rates (VAEs, HAPIs), increase quality and safety.
Support evidence-based medicine
Knisely suggests using therapist-driven protocols in order to use evidence-based medicine. Doing so can increase efficiency without sacrificing safety or quality, such as reducing unnecessary treatments.
“Connect and build relationships with other successful leaders,” Knisely said.
In addition to building relationships with other leaders, she recommends investing in your employees in order to grow and develop your team.
“Truly listen and care,” she said. “Love your people and what you do.”
Be present and visible
“In the big world of health care and allied health professions, we need to constantly be proving our value as respiratory therapists,” said Aaron Shepherd MHA, RRT. “One of the most simple and important ways that a respiratory therapy department can show its value is by having RTs present and visible in the ICUs.”
Shepherd continues to explain how RTs can provide tremendous support and peace of mind to both nurses and physicians when we are physically present on the unit.
“RTs need to be easily accessible in the ICUs,” Shepherd said. “If we can’t be found when the ICU team or a patient really needs us, we start to lose our value. ICUs need RTs!”
Respond quickly and effectively
Shepherd considers RTs to be the “paramedics of the hospital.” In fact, it’s one of his favorite characteristics of the profession.
“Because we touch every part of the hospital from the floors, to the ICUs, to the ERs, respiratory therapists have extraordinary patient assessment skills, often seeing what others can’t see,” Shepherd said. “This is another great opportunity to show our value!”
Shepherd suggests that when respiratory therapy is called to assess or assist a patient, RTs should respond quickly and take every opportunity to teach others what they know.
“By doing this, not only can a respiratory department provide great patient care, but they will also be providing great service to the internal customer, which includes all of our fellow health care professionals,” Shepherd said. “This is how we can show our value.”
Embrace the new
“Always embrace new initiatives having value for your patients and your institution,” said Bob Yost, RRT, RRT-NPS. “When approached, look to say, ‘We will absolutely help with that!’”
For example, Yost’s department plays a role in a variety of initiatives, ranging from pioneering new EMR modules to creating four respiratory disease care maps.
Help your colleagues
You and your colleagues have the same goal: to deliver quality patient care.
“Make the lives of your fellow caregivers easier whenever possible,” Yost said.
He shared an example of how he and his department took the time to understand that other caregivers who don’t work with home ventilator patients often may not be comfortable or confident in their skills. His team responds with the message: “Your therapist will handle all ventilator performance charting for the rest of your shift. Relax. We’ve got that. Call us for any questions.”
“Our RN’s have loved it,” Yost said.