The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2008 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Kathy L. Kammeraad1

Background: Staff Perception Surveys identified retention as an area for improvement in Resp Care at Spectrum Health. A committee formed creating a forum to address ways to impact staff satisfaction. Many therapists consistently perform above and beyond what's outlined for their daily job. The committee felt strongly the program should not include reference to hours worked but should reflect professional development and participation in department/community activities.

Methods: A literature search was performed for examples of achievement based programs and recognition efforts from around the country. University of California, San Diego has utilized this type of program and was a primary resource for developing the Spectrum Health program. Other institutions models ranged from "points" systems, to hourly differential, and classic Clinical ladder formats. Our Human Resources recommended a points-system method. A grid was developed from staff surveys regarding those activities the therapists thought worthy of additional recognition and reward. Each item was weighed against the other and tested until a numerical value system was developed. Specific management was identified for each category to validate participation. The grid was printed on envelopes to allow storage and proof of points earned. Staff are to track their own activities and submit quarterly for potential award.

Specific goals and metrics identified:
Reduce turnover rate
Increase staff participation and satisfaction
Increase staff referrals
Staff eligibility requirements:
Registered Respiratory Therapists
Performance rating 2.6 or greater.
No corrective action levels of written warning or above
Awards are contingent on the maintenance of three quality measures:
Maintain compliance >90% for ventilator weaning documentation
Maintain compliance <0.9% "Red meds" - measurement of appropriate and timely documentation of medication delivery Financial - meet budget for Operating Margin

Results: The AIR program was implemented January 1st 2007. Spectrum Health Respiratory Care has met quality measures every quarter. 63 appreciation bonuses were awarded totaling $7,320.

Conclusion: Turn over rates dropped by 50% from calendar year 2006-2007. More therapists are participating in the program with each new quarter. Staff referrals have been maintained at previous levels. Management is optimistic that ongoing staff satisfaction surveys will reflect an upward trend on overall staff satisfaction.