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PT on the Run

Are You Competent?

Published June 19, 2014 4:34 PM by Michael Kelley

Every year, our department completes a series of competencies designed to ensure our compliance with and understanding of basic hospital policies and procedures as well as more departmental-specific things. It is apparently a Joint Commission requirement (those guys are such a drag!) that we complete three competencies every year. And so, our corporate rehab department has created a number of competencies to help cover pretty much every aspect of our jobs. The problem is I think many of these competencies are downright silly. Yes, you heard me, silly.

Now some of the competencies we have are okay. For instance, we have a competency on how to use our telemetry computers in patients' rooms. This isn't the kind of equipment you would necessarily learn how to use in PT school and the equipment used is going to be different wherever you work, so it's important to know how this equipment works for the safety and well-being of your patient.

But then there are the dumb competencies. For instance, we have a transfer competency. Now I'm going to be critical of this, and I want everyone to know I made up this competency, and I still think it's dumb. You see, I made this competency a while ago when we were hiring a bunch of new aides. It was designed to ensure they knew proper body mechanics and techniques while transferring patients.

Unfortunately, it was decided this competency would be used for all new employees. So we just hired a new OT this past week and, sure enough, I had to make sure she passed her transfer competency. This girl, who just spent the past few years in OT school learning and practicing transfers among her other skills, now had to prove that her school taught her well. My question is this, do we really think a school (PT or any other discipline) would give a student a diploma if she couldn't do a basic transfer? I felt embarrassed making this new OT go through this ridiculous exercise.

I apologize for this being more of a rant this week, but it has been on my mind for a while, so I thought I'd put it on here. Do you have to go through annual competencies? We have competencies for seemingly everything (telemetry, transfers, wound care, edema management, orthopedics, neuro, diabetes management, TENS usage etc.). Are all these really necessary? Shouldn't we put a little more faith in our PT and OT schools?

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In this litigious society, this is what needs to be done.

Jeanne June 19, 2014 4:57 PM

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