What One Manager Thinks About the NBRC Specialty Credentials


You have to earn your CRT in order to become a licensed RT in most states, and in several, the requirement is the RRT.

You should earn your RRT to ensure your employer that you are capable of working at the top of your field.

But do you really need specialty credentials as well? Some people would say no, there is no reason to go that extra mile.

Kevin McQueen, MHA, RRT, RRT-ACCS, CPPS, system lead respiratory therapy director at UCHealth in Colorado, would beg to differ.

Setting yourself apart

“I believe that having specialty credentials sets you apart from other RTs by showing your dedication to your profession and ongoing professional growth,” said McQueen. “RNs have several options to get credentials related to their area of specialty. We need to show other health care professionals that we as RTs are just as dedicated.”

He put that philosophy into practice when he first joined UCHealth in Colorado Springs in late 2017, focusing one of his first employee engagement projects on the NBRC specialty credentials. Step one was to ask his staff which of the credentials they would most want to earn if UCHealth would agree to reimburse them for the costs of a preparation course and the exam.

“The overall vote was for the Adult Critical Care Specialist credential,” he said.

It only made sense. Since the hospital is a Level 1 Trauma facility the team thought this would be the best credential to start with. As a department director who believes he shouldn’t ask staff to do something he isn’t willing to do himself, McQueen joined that first group in taking the training and earning his own ACCS.

An annual event

But that was just the beginning.

“Since 2017, when I started the program, we now have an annual event with between 15 and 25 RTs being trained and becoming ACCS,” said McQueen.

It has all added up. Today 52 of the 100 RTs on staff hold the ACCS, and several others have earned other NBRC specialty credentials as well, including the NPS, CPFT, and RPFT.

McQueen believes going this extra mile makes a big difference for his organization and its patients, and he makes sure to let his staff know how much he appreciates their efforts. “I like competition, so every time that an RT passes their board certification I proudly announce it at our Daily Safety Huddle, which is attended by 150 or more individuals every morning,” he said.

Learn more about all the RT specialty credentials available from the National Board for Respiratory Care here.

Heading to the New Era

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