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Adventures in Sleep

The Problem with Being an OJT

Published December 26, 2012 4:29 PM by Amy Reavis
I believe there is a place for someone being trained on the job, but medicine is not that place. I am sure this statement will make many of my readers unhappy with me. But there are too many issues that cannot be taught while you are working and too many theories that need to be taught in a learning environment. We are dealing with people’s lives; if we want to be a respected career, then we need to embrace education as part of it. 

I know that the A-STEP and STAR programs exist, but they are very minimal and do not quantify that the students learned what they really need to know. Many people rush through the A-STEP and take the test several times until they pass. They do not really absorb the information and they have no one to turn to when they have questions. This does not create an interactive learning environment. Unless the person is really motivated, they learn the very 
basics and that is it.

The reason I bring this up has to do with several incidents where technicians missed critical arrhythmias during studies. One person was registered and the others were not. What they all had in common was that they were trained “on the job.” Did they get taught about arrhythmias?  Maybe, but if they did it was from someone who may or may not have had a strong ECG background. They may have read a book or used a poster to identify the arrhythmia at hand. 
I am not saying a school is a “be all and end all.” I do believe, as I have said before, in continuing education. I know that school would be more systematic and would include more time to learn. This is essential to creating a top-of-the-line technician. 

We are an advanced field where we are expected to educate and treat patients. In order to do so, we need a strong, structured education program that is well respected by those in and outside our field. We need to move forward. 


I do have to disagree a little with you. I work in a department where there are OJT's that were grandfathered in years ago after taking the CRTT test.  I started in Respiratory as an LPN and furthered my education in Respiratory 10 years afterwards. Just because you are an OJT does not mean you did not recieve good training. I believe it depends on the institution where you were trained. The department manager where I was trained as a nurse for respiratory sat for endless hours teaching us respiratory. This teaching was followed by compentencies. We also had to take a cardiac course as well as BLS and ACLS. I would stand by each of our OJT's 100%, they are excellent in the field.

Mary Miller, Resp - RRT, Moses Taylor April 17, 2013 5:15 AM
Scranton PA

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