The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Matthew Trojanowski; The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD

INTRODUCTION: The respiratory care profession is embarking upon a period of tremendous development, and change typically elicits a wide range of emotions. The 2015 and Beyond initiatives (Kacmarek, Barnes, Walton, 2009) highlight the many changes that the profession may experience in the coming years. The current economic climate also portends tighter departmental budgets, necessitating difficult financial decisions that may impact employee morale. The Respiratory Care Services (RCS) department at The Johns Hopkins Hospital recently underwent a major transition to two new medical towers. The RCS department utilized an established transition management model (Bridges, 2009) to help staff navigate this period of uncertainty. This model details three phases that take place during transitions: Letting go, the neutral zone, and a new beginning. Staff first experience a period of grieving and resistance, followed by ambivalence, and eventually achieve full engagement in the process. Management of this process is guided by the “4-Ps”: Purpose, picture, plan, and part. Leaders of change must clearly identify the purpose of the change, provide a detailed picture of the final goal, develop a thorough action plan, and give each person a part in the transition. This model of transition may be of benefit to departments undergoing major change. METHOD: The hospital conducted two departmental satisfaction surveys during the transition period (September 2011 - April 2012). The 7-question survey utilized a Likert scale (1 = “strongly disagree” and 5 =“strongly agree”) to quantify employee morale. Measures of central tendency were compared between the two surveys to assess the effectiveness of the transition plan. RESULTS: Summarized in table 1. CONCLUSION: The RCS department successfully managed a major transition using Bridges’ (2009) transition management model, indicated by an increase in the mean, median, and mode of the survey scores. It is important to note, however, that participation in the second survey was significantly less than the first. Effective transition management skills are imperative as the profession undergoes potentially major changes. Departments also have to face the possibility of operating with smaller budgets, necessitating potentially unpopular financial decisions. It may be difficult to maintain employee morale during these periods of uncertainty, so leaders must be well-equipped to manage the challenges of major transitions. Sponsored Research - None Table 1. Summary of measures of central tendency for each survey.