Value of Cross-Training

 Published: January 29, 2020

By: Heather Willden


image of busy hospital walkway

Department teams across the organization strive to reach the same goal, and collaborative work environments help support this effort. Adding cross-training to your team strengthens these collaborative efforts. Taking time to be educated and ready to support not only fellow department colleagues but also other departments, will benefit your organization as you all work to deliver quality patient care. AARC Member Heidi Obry, BA, RRT, shares how her team works to support the full organization.

A vital role

“At our organization, we actively participate in physician rounds for our CVOR patients, and multidisciplinary rounds for all ICU patients including NICU,” Obry said. Obry is the director of respiratory therapy services at the Aspirus Wausau Hospital in Wisconsin.

She continued to explain that their department has a respiratory therapy patient care coordinator who participates in discharge planning rounds with social workers and discharge coordinators.

“I have a fulltime educator who provides education to MDs, teaches at nurse residency, and participates in new nurse education along with her RT duties,” Obry said. “The RTs here put in arterial lines and intubate so we can support and allow our other advanced care providers to use their expertise where it’s needed the most.“

According to Obry, her team also draws ABGs and other labs for patients with lines. They have a standalone ED that her therapists staff, which can lead to some non-traditional job duties.

“I or one of my leadership team sits on almost every Care Committee in this tertiary care hospital because we play a vital role in the success of so many of their programs,” Obry said.


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Heather Willden

Heather Willden is the Director of Governance and Strategic Initiatives for the AARC where she works with state affiliates as the HOD liaison. She also manages DEI efforts and strategic initiatives. Connect with her about these topics by email, AARConnect or LinkedIn. When she's not working, you can find her podcasting with her husband, exploring new hiking trails, photographing, and spending time with her family.

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