The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2005 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

INITIATION OF AN EXTRA SHIFT INCENTIVE PLAN FOR STAFF THERAPISTS TO REDUCE OUR DEPARTMENTS DEPENDENCY ON TRAVELERS.

Suzanne Iniguez, RRT-NPS, Robert Castillo, CRT, Lee Evey, BS, RRT Texas Children's Hospital, Houston, Texas

BACKGROUND: The Respiratory Care Department at Texas Children's Hospital, Houston is comprised of 127 FTE's. The hospital is a 750 bed facility where the therapists cover a 70 bed NICU, 32 bed PICU, 36 bed PRCU, 12 bed CV ICU, 70 bed Level II Nursery, PACU and the acute care floors. Traditionally during the high census winter months our department has relied on using travelers to help us meet our staffing needs.

METHOD: In fiscal year '05 a staff therapist made the suggestion to initiate an extra shift commitment from interested staff therapists. A staff group met and created a contract with two options, a) agreeing to work one additional 12 hour shift per month and b) agreeing to work one additional 12 hour shift per pay period (every 2 weeks), the time interval was from November through February. Our leadership team made the commitment that all additional shifts would be honored and there would be no cancellations, calling in sick on any of the additional shifts would carry the same penalty as regular shifts. The plan was then presented to the staff by a group of their peers. The consensus amongst the leadership team was that we would have better coverage using our own therapists as there would be no need for orientation and there would be no learning curve, also our team dynamics were already in place.

RESULTS: We had 34 signed contracts, the majority being for an extra shift per pay period. In FY '05 we were able to reduce our number of travelers used to 3 for 4.5 months down from FY '04 where we used 8 travelers for 5 months. In FY '04 our traveler expenditure was $247,425 and in FY '05 it was $87,907. Our staff therapists expressed increased satisfaction with their guaranteed shift and even though the census fluctuated we maintained coverage. The plan was extended for an additional month with the same 34 individuals participating as our census remained elevated.

CONCLUSION: Our primary goal was to continue delivering the same high standard of care that our patients expect even with the challenge of a high census, not only was this achieved but we did so by saving money and improving staff morale. Due to the success of the program we will continue to utilize it and evaluate our progress.

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