The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2012 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Kimberly Johnson, Sarah M. Varekojis, F. Herbert Douce, Laurie Rinehart-Thompson; The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

BACKGROUND: Few reports exist that describe RT department orientation for new clinical staff. The purposes of this study were to describe how RT departments have structured new staff orientation to verify competency and meet Joint Commission standards. METHODS: This study utilized on-line survey research methodology, distributing a link to the AARC’s Management and Education Section email lists. Respondents indicating responsibility for new clinical staff orientation in an acute care hospital were able to complete the survey. Participants were asked to indicate how competency was assessed for 37 of the 69 competencies outlined in the AARC’s 2015 & Beyond initiative, and for the Commission standards in the Human Resources section of the 2010 Hospital Accreditation Program Standards. RESULTS: 2,907 members received a survey invitation, 449 accessed the online survey, and 333 met the inclusion criteria. 55% were from community hospitals, 30.1% from academic/teaching, 4% from Children’s hospitals. 226 (77%) indicated new staff therapists receive individualized orientation programs based on needs or past experience. 36 of the 37 included competencies were most frequently assessed via observation of skill. Only 8 of 37 competencies were not assessed by greater than 25% of respondents. Assessment of the Commission standards was through mixed methods, most commonly computer based learning, lecture, and handouts. All of the Commission standards were assessed by greater than 95% of respondents. Probationary periods of 60-90 days were frequently reported as a timeframe for new staff to demonstrate competency. CONCLUSION: There is some consistency in both the competencies assessed and in the methods used to assess competency among RT departments. While scope of practice likely dictates whether competencies are included or not, there may be a need to incorporate additional competencies into orientation programs in the future. There does appear to be an opportunity to incorporate additional methods of not only assessing competency but also measuring some of the additional 2015 and Beyond competencies not addressed in traditional orientation programs, specifically through the use of simulation technologies. Sponsored Research - None