We’ve all heard our bosses refer to one of their employees as an “RT rising star” or “star performer.” But unless the name associated with that glowing praise is our own, we’ve probably wondered what they really mean by that? What makes that RT so much better than the rest of us?
No “neb slinger” mentality
Diane Baltzell, BBA, RRT, director of respiratory therapy, cardiopulmonary, and neurodiagnostics at Texas Health Presbyterian Allen in Allen, TX, defines a “star performer” as one who is compassionate and empathetic and considers himself an integral part of the care team. “There isn’t any room for the ‘neb slinger’ mentality in my department,” says the manager.
This therapist is a lifelong learner who can think critically and demonstrates it on the job by performing complete assessments, coming in prepared for rounds, and looking for interventions and solutions that will work best for patients and their families. She steps outside of her own job duties to advocate for the profession as a member of her state and national organizations as well, recognizing that change is part of the profession and if we don’t drive it, someone else will. He maintains a focus on patient safety too. “Is there a better process, a better product?” asks Baltzell. “How can we improve quality, reduce risk, and make our patients better?”
See the initiative and take it
“There are many bright, hardworking individuals in respiratory care but I believe the top performers are those who take initiative in all situations,” says John Campbell, MA, MBA, RRT-NPS, RPFT, FACHE, director of respiratory care service, neurodiagnostics, and the sleep lab at Barnabas Health in Newark, NJ . “These individuals normally do not need to be told what to do and when to do it.”
He believes star performers see problems and fix them or bring them forward to those in charge so they can be fixed. They also have new ideas that could help improve the department and they volunteer to turn those ideas into reality. “They assure the care of their patients in terms of quality and satisfaction, and overall, make the job of management much easier,” he says.
To Tina Dean-Everett, RRT, cardiopulmonary care director at Highlands Medical Center in Scottsboro, AL, a standout employee is one who is interested in learning more about new ideas and is always there to help her coworkers when she is not busy. This employee focuses on work while at work and maintains a good attitude towards his patients and their family members — and towards his fellow employees too.
“It’s hard for someone to always have a positive attitude,” says Dean-Everett, “but people are usually known as a good influence or a nag.”
“In my experience, I look for someone who is well-balanced,” says Brian Kessler, MBA, RRT-NPS, director of respiratory care, neurodiagnostics, and central transport services at St. Mary’s Medical Center in Evansville, IN. “By this, I mean they aware of their strengths and weaknesses, have great communication skills, realistic expectations and goals, and the integrity to do what is right whether people are watching or not.”
He says these individuals also appreciate and understand the importance of doing any job to the best of their ability — whether that be cleaning equipment, hand-hygiene, or performing an intubation. They step forward to serve as team-builders in the department, but they know when it’s time to be a good follower too.
Pitch in and work as a team
Amanda Richter, MHA, RRT-NPS, RRT-ACCS, RPFT, director of cardiopulmonary services at Metroplex Hospital in Killeen, TX, defines an RT Rising Star as someone who is truly engaged in her work and always willing to go above and beyond for her patients and for the departmental team. “They are problem solvers and critical thinkers,” says the manager. “These star performers demonstrate leadership whether or not they have a leadership role.”
They are not only eager to learn new things themselves, but willing to help others learn them as well, and they come into work every day with a great attitude. “They make others want to come to work,” says Richter. “They don’t complain when it is busy —instead they pitch in and work as a team.”