The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2011 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Renee L. Uchtorff, Ronald E. Dechert, Kenneth Bandy; C.S. Mott Respiratory Care, University of Michigan Health System, Ann Arbor, MI

Background: Engagement of staff in department operations can be beneficial to the vitality of a Respiratory Care depertment. We implemented a program (charge therapist) in April 2010 that empowered staff in assignment and distribution of normal work shift activities. The Charge Therapist Pilot Program was implemented following development of roles, responsibilities and guidelines. One year after initiation of this pilot program, staff evaluations were distributed and collected from supervisors and staff. Method: Eligible staff with two years or greater experience were recruited for this program. The pilot initially started with 3 therapists and has progressed to a total of 13 therapists from both shifts. Staff surveys were distributed to elicit feedback regarding staff acceptance of this new activity. Results: Out of 38 surveys received, 67% feel that there has been a positive change in departmental direction with this program. Sixty percent feel more encouraged to participate in other department initiatives; 71% feel that Charge Therapists are well prepared to handle daily issues. Eighty-eight percent indicate that staff feel comfortable going to the Charge Therapist for daily issues. Our Charge Therapists feel more engaged since participating in this program and 58% are interested in pursuing supervision as a career choice. Supervisory responses were highly supportive of the Charge Therapist Program. Eighty-three percent feel the program has improved staff engagement and 86% feel it allows them a greater amount of time to focus on unit projects and needs. Conclusions: The Charge Therapist Program provides staff a mechanism for increased staff participation, development and engagement. In addition, it provides the opportunity for supervisory staff to utilize their time on alternative departmental needs and provides a more diverse support system for staff. The Charge Therapist Program also provides a framework for staff members who are considering supervision. Sponsored Research - None