The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1996 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

It Takes an RCP to Direct an RC Department

James E. Burchfield, BS, RRT Wednesday, November 6, 1996

The fundamentals of management are the same regardless of whether an individual is managing a restaurant or a hospital department. The methodology of management focuses on the utilization of resources such as supplies, equipment and finances. One may manage "things"; people, however must be led. Management of a department requires "leadership" as well as "management". Leadership requires the ability to influence behavior. To lead respiratory care practitioners requires an understanding of the RT history as well as a vision of the future of the profession. It is very difficult for a non-respiratory care practitioner to understand the language as well as the specific needs of RCPs. The paradigm of each profession determines how one views the world. It is this perception upon which decisions are made. In a time of rapid change it is essential to understand the nature of the business/service when decisions must be made quickly with inadequate information. To make decisions based strictly on a nursing model or a lab model could have disastrous consequences for an RT department. To focus strictly on the bottom line will not suffice. It requires someone intricately familiar with the business/service to make decisions that benefit the short term as well as the long term goals of department and hospital.

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