The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

1998 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Without Staff With Interpersonal Skills, You'll Never Have a 'Great' Department

Scott Reistad

In the past, Respiratory Care's has been primarily focused on the technical aspects of the job. The widely held belief was that people with a great deal of technical skills would be the "best" choices for staff in the department. Thus, staff with "alphabet soup" behind their name (CRTT, RRT, CPFT, RPFT, ACLS, NRPS, PALS, ad nauseum) were given priority over staff who did not possess such credentials. As health care continues to embrace its role as a "business", the leaders of the industry now realize that technical skills are not enough. We must now expand our scope from "knowledge, skills, and abilities" to that of "knowledge, skills, and attitudes". Driving this belief is the fact that patients and families assume that anyone who comes in their room to care for them is competent and makes their evaluation if the person is "good" or "bad" on if they are "nice" or not. Because of the many choices that our customers now have, it is important that they are not only satisfied with their care but also "delighted" with their care. This forces leaders to begin to place greater emphasis on the interpersonal skills which staff possess as these skills will be the benchmark of quality for our patients. Leaders then begin to discover how their staff's interaction is not only with the patient but also with one's peers. We find that the problems that managers face are not ones of lack of technical skills, but that of staff who lack interpersonal skills--unable to resolve conflicts, unable to deal with change, unable to get along with peers, nurses & physicians, unable to see the positive side of things, unable to work as a team, etc. The dilemma faced by leaders is how does one hire, develop, and hold staff accountable for interpersonal skills. If our patients, other health care practitioners, and other customers are unaware of staffs ability to deal with them from the interpersonal side, leaders will have difficulty achieving the financial and quality goals that they desire.

The 44th International Respiratory Congress Abstracts-On-DiskĀ®, November 7 - 10, 1998, Atlanta, Georgia.

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