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Adventures in Sleep

Make Staff Meetings More Productive

Published November 28, 2012 6:11 PM by Amy Reavis
Every month we need to have a staff meeting. I personally hate them, but I know they are necessary--and I've discovered that you can create meaningful staff meetings and help meet your CEU requirements at the same time. If you create a yearly schedule of educational topics and have a basic outline of topics that need to be covered, you can get meetings over in 60-90 minutes and make them interesting

The first thing to do is create a basic meeting structure allowing for discussion of things like changes in policy, issues that patient surveys uncover and issues that staff may have brought to your attention. A basic agenda should be mailed out one week ahead of time so that any subsequent information that may be needed can be gathered. Topics of discussion should be general in nature. If there is an issue with one person, it should be handled in private. The staff meeting should deal with wider issues, such as the rooms are too cold or dirty equipment has been left for the next shift. There should be some mechanism allowing for an open review of policies and changes in policies, such as a change in the scoring manual.

It is important to allow time for problem solving and discussion but that you keep the discussion controlled so that it does not lead to name-calling or finger-pointing. You also want the business part of the meeting to be short and concise.

The second half of the meeting should be for learning. You can get CEUs by applying to the AAST or BRPT. I like the BRPT because the application, available at http://www.brpt.org/downloads/CSTE/CSTE%20Application%20FINAL.pdf, is simple. Consider offering a topic of the month or case study of the month. I would assign a tech to do this so that you are encouraging leadership and learning throughout the staff. If a staff member has an interesting patient, they can do a case study of that patient and their disorder.

Here is a sample list of topics that could be covered in a year:

  • January: Staging
  • February: Respiratory Events
  • March: Movement Disorders
  • April: Parasomnias
  • May: Medication Effects
  • June: Titrations
  • July: Report Creation
  • August: Women
  • September: Pediatrics
  • October: Sleep Hygiene
  • November: ECG
  • December: Day Studies

If you are a larger lab you also might want to add an incentive program that offers recognition at monthly meetings. You could honor the staff member with the most positive patient survey or create a "catch someone doing something good" program. You can give out prizes or certificates to those who have done an exceptional job. Incentives and rewards will be a help when it is time to do yearly evaluations because staff will know that recognitions will be considered.

Monthly meetings are an important part of running a sleep lab. They do not have to be the boring exchange of information they have been in the past. Take advantage of the tools and people out in the community and in your facility to create a dynamic learning environment for everyone.

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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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