The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2006 OPEN FORUM Abstracts

TIME SPENT AND KNOWLEDGE TRANSFERRED ORIENTING NEW RESPIRATORY THERAPISTS AT THE CLEVELAND CLINIC:  DETERMINING BASELINE MEASURES FOR COMPARISON AFTER IMPLEMENTING AN ON-LINE ORIENTATION SYSTEM

 Ed Hoisington, R.R.T., Lucy Kester, R.R.T., M.B.A., F.A.A.R.C., Nichole Santori, James K. Stoller, M.D., M.S.c., F.A.A.R.C., The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio

Background: Orientation of new respiratory therapy staff is a time-intensive activity.  In an effort to streamline new employee orientation for members of the Section of Respiratory Therapy at the Cleveland Clinic, we created a series of on-line modules regarding important non-clinical orientation topics (e.g. New Hire Orientation, The Respiratory Therapy Consult Service, Code Blue Procedures) with short post-tests to assess takeaway knowledge.  With a goal to assess the impact of this on-line system on knowledge gained and time spent orienting new therapists (RTs) to our Section,  the current abstract presents baseline data (i.e., before implementing the on-line program).   

Methods: The on-line orientation consisted of a series of 9 modules addressing important orientation topics, including general topics for newly hired RTs and specialty area-specific information (e.g. The Medical Intensive Care Unit, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, etc.).  To allow assessment of the impact of this on-line orientation program on knowledge transferred and time spent orienting newly hired RTs, we determined  baseline measures of: 1. the time spent orienting each new hire RT before the on-line system was implemented (i.e., when all orientation was conducted with in-person interaction), and 2. RTs' knowledge of orientation content.  

Results:  Seven newly hired RTs agreed to participate. The post-orientation quiz consisted of 20 questions regarding information communicated during the in-person orientation process.  The table presents individual results.

Therapist      1      2      3      4      5       6       7
Percent  Correct Responses (N=20)     95%      85%        95%      85%    85%       70%       85%

The mean % of correct responses was 86%.  Frequently missed questions regarded basic RT responsibilities (e.g. shift call-off timeframe and assignment area responsibility) and Section procedures rather than respiratory therapy issues.  The mean per therapist time spent in orienting new RTs at baseline (i.e. before implementing the on-line system) was 4.5 hours.

Conclusions: Orientation of newly hired respiratory therapists regarding non-clinical topics is time-intensive, requiring a mean of 4.5 hours per RT using an in-person orientation program.  Also, post-orientation quiz responses indicated sub-optimal transfer of information, especially regarding Section procedures (e.g., therapist call-off policy).  Though based on a small sample size, these data provide baseline measures against which to compare orientation time and post-orientation test results using a new on-line orientation system which is being implemented at the Cleveland Clinic.   

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