The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2000 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

Demand Re-Engineering: Multi-Skilling in Diagnosis

Carl Mottram, BA, RRT, RPFT Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Michigan

Respiratory Care Practitioners (RCPs) have long been willing and able to demonstrate the skills necessary to support a variety of patient care activities. We will review the training and competency assessment requirements for RCPs working in three different diagnostic sub-specialties.
Several professional organizations provide guidelines and standards that can assist the RCP in the practice of pulmonary, cardiac and sleep diagnostic testing. The AARC has eleven clinical practice guidelines related to diagnostic testing, including one in the sleep arena (e.g. polysomnography). Competency can be assessed using a variety of methodologies, such as performance appraisals, competency assessment tools, and examinations. Job descriptions and performance evaluations can be written to evaluated competency. There are two excellent resources available to assist the author in writing these documents. Ms. Blonshine has written a training and competency assessment manual, which contains both pulmonary and cardiac diagnostic testing. The National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) also published a Respiratory Care Competency Assessment Program, which includes job descriptions and assessment forms for each of their credentialed practitioner areas. Sub-specialty examinations can be obtained through the NBRC in pulmonary diagnostics, the Board of Registered Polysomnographic Technologists (BRPT) for those practicing in sleep labs and the American College of Sports Medicine for exercise testing. All have requirements in order to be a successful candidate for their examinations. Many respiratory care educational programs incorporate clinical rotations on these diagnostic areas as a component of their core curriculums and RCPs are immediately eligible for the NBRC's entry-level pulmonary function technologist exam upon graduation. The BRPT also has reduced clinical experience requirement for RCPs in order to satisfy the eligibility requirements for their registry examination.
These are many reasons for multi-skilling. In the smaller institutions it may be a necessity in order to provide the appropriate patient care services, whereas in a larger facility it may be for personal or career growth. Either way, multi-skilling is quintessential to the future development of our professional.
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