The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Jan Phillips-Clar1, Gina Giles-Oas1, Donna Murphy2, Richard M. Ford1; 1Respiratory Care, University of California San Diego Medical Center, San Diego, CA; 2Respiratory Care, Sharp Grossmont Hospital, La Mesa, CA

Background: Reductions in the RCP workforce beyond critical levels can result in missed therapy, misallocation of therapy, inability to respond, complications and errors that can result in negative outcomes. This concern provided reason to better assess the status of staffing respiratory care departments and manager perception of the cause of staffing shortages. Methods: California managers were surveyed to report their observations regarding staffing and the cause of shortages, as well as practices in place that may directly impact staffing. The survey was designed by the North Carolina Respiratory Care Board, who initiated a similar inquiry in 2011. The survey was distributed through the contact list maintained by the California Society for Respiratory Care. Results: Of approximately 440 hospitals in California, 130 centers responded. It was the general perception of 30% of respondents that they did not have adequate staff over the course of the past year. In such situations managers identified reasons for being short staffed as listed in the table. The most significant reasons for chronic understaffing were extended medical leave and delays in the onboarding process. Conclusion: One can assess that for those who identified a reason for understaffing 35% of the time it was a result of poor metrics, administrative targets, hiring freezes or budget related. For 65% of responders the key reasons for being understaffed were the result of more department/system issues related to managing leaves, turnover, and the processes involved in the recruiting/hiring of new staff. This indicates that California Managers of Respiratory Care not only need tools that will help decision makers in setting staffing targets for the provision of RC services, but are in need of better systems to manage leave and filling of vacancies. Sponsored Research - None Reasons Identified for Being Short Staffed