RTs Share How They Like to Be Recognized


You work hard for your department, your organization, and most especially, your patients. And you deserve to be recognized for it, right?

Most RTs would say yes, but how that recognition should be delivered is another story. What do RTs really want from their managers? Some therapists (and some managers too) shared their opinions on the matter via the AARC Specialty Section discussion lists.

Gift cards are good

Kelly Welton, BA, RRT-NPS, says a face-to-face thank you for a job well done is always appreciated. That one-on-one touch is much more meaningful than a shout-out at the monthly department meeting. But more tangible forms of recognition are great too, and they don’t have to represent big bucks. “A $5 meal card or Starbucks card is a nice reward also,” says the Orange, CA, therapist.

“I believe recognition is an important thing in a career,” says Brooke Conner, BSRC, RRT, from Napanoch, NY. “It helps motivate you and gives you confirmation that you are in fact making a difference.”

At her hospital, managers hand out “bucks” that can be spent in the cafeteria or gift shop. She says RTs appreciate having that “free money” to go get a cold drink or snack during the workday.

Robert Wood, RRT, from Ridgecrest, CA, says he likes to mail his staff thank you cards – with a $25 Amazon gift card included – to show his appreciation for all they do. “When I tell them face-to-fact that I greatly appreciate their hard work on a project, it seems appreciated but short lived due to the work volume,” says the manager. “At home, their significant other and/or family get to see the card and this allows the employee multiple forms of positive acknowledgement.”

Verbal appreciation works too

“As a departmental Exceptional Patient Experience and Employee Engagement Champion, this is something I think about a lot,” says D’Aun Flesher, BSRT, RRT-NPS, AE-C, from Albuquerque, NM. “It’s important to understand that a one-size-fits-all approach is just as inappropriate when we are looking at our colleagues as when we are treating patients!”

She notes studies show many people really value a kind word of thanks – sometimes even more than financial incentives – and that point was driven home for her after the nurse in her outpatient clinic left and she had to assume her responsibilities.

“After a month of this, my director told me in passing, ‘Thank you for all you do. I see what you’re doing every day, and I want you to know how much I appreciate it,’” she says. “This sentiment, called out to me while we were on our way out in different directions, floored me. I thought about it non-stop and it carried me the two more months until we hired a replacement for my nurse.”

Robert Boyd, from Louisville, KY, is all for verbal “thanks” as well. He remembers how uplifting and motivating it was to received such recognition from his supervisors when he was a staff therapist and now that he’s a manager, he pays it forward.

“I consider it my duty and an essential job function as a manager to try to make my employees feel good about what they do,” says Boyd. “I have learned that a little praise can go a long way!”

Patients yes, gold stars, no

For Kenny Miller, MEd, MSRT, RRT-ACCS, RRT-NPS, AE-C, FAARC, from Allentown, PA, hearing “great job” from a manager is wonderful, and so are managers who view their staff as individuals and not just FTEs. But the best thank-you of all comes not from a supervisor but from the people who benefit from his care.

“To me the greatest recognition I can get is when a patient and/or family comes back to visit after a difficult hospitalization and thanks me for caring for them or their loved one,” says the RT.

Of course, not everyone needs a pat on the back — of any sort. Says John Stano, CRT, RPSGT, from Dexter, NY. “I’m not in elementary school and don’t need a ‘gold star.’ Just tell me what needs to be done and let me do what I’m best at,” he says. “I find these ‘recognition’ days and weeks to be self-serving and just plain annoying for the most part.”

He admits, though, that his stance may come from just having been around for a bit too long. “Maybe after 40 years in the medical field, I’m just a grumpy old curmudgeon,” concedes the RT.

Heading to the New Era

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