|Will Your Hyperbaric Tech Pass Muster When JCAHO Comes To Your Facility?
This question creeps up on me a couple of times a year. It is a difficult question to answer on a generalized basis – basically there will be multiple answers depending on who you ask and under what circumstances. It is important to know that when you hire a hyperbaric tech in an acute care hospital setting, all the hospital’s policies relating to Human Resources have to be followed completely. If there are any questions related to what these policies are, I would recommend inquiring about them from the hospitals HR department – although when it comes to hiring CHT’s, DMT’s, and CHRN’s the hospitals HR department may look to you to inform them of what is needed as far as certifications are concerned.
Here are a couple (not all) of items that hospitals typically require:
1. Background check
2. Physical examination and drug screen
3. Hospital orientation
4. License and/or certification verification
5. Hospital and Interdepartmental emergency procedures
6. Familiarization of hospital infection control policies/location of policies
7. Department policies location and familiarization
8. Signed competencies for specific job responsibilities
9. Current BLS certification for healthcare provider
10. TB skin test
This is just a taste of what hospitals will require each clinical employee to have. It is also important to know that even if the employee is not a hospital employee, i.e. hired by a management company – this employee, in most cases is still required to follow the hospitals HR policies.
What about CHT’s, CHRN’s or DMT’s?
CHT’s (Certified Hyperbaric Technologists), CHRN’s (Certified Hyperbaric Nurse’s) or DMT’s (Diver Medical Technicians) usually start out with a vocational license/certification such as EMT, MA, CNA, RN, PT, RT, etc. as recommended by the NBDHMT for certification as a CHT, DMT, or CHRN (see CHT information packet pp. 5 & 6). Hospital HR departments usually are unaware that CHT, DMT, or CHRN certifications are an “added qualification” for licensed health care, and related, professionals not an actual license as mandated by various states and/or local hospital policies.
All too common are cases of hyperbaric technician’s having a current CHT, DMT, or CHRN certification with an expired health care license, even a more too common case is that it is only discovered prior to or during a State Department of Health Inspection or Joint Commission (JCAHO) visit. A simple solution is to have a file of employees with columns for various healthcare certification dates and expiration dates and a renewal reminder section that is checked periodically so that a reminder may be sent out a couple months prior to the actual expiration dates.
Smith, John EMT, CHT
Frost, Jack RN, CHRN
As a reference please see the NBDHMT’s website and find the following in the “Pathways to Certification” in the information packet for CHT applicants, it reads as follows:
Pathways for Certification
Certification in Hyperbaric Technology may be granted for a two-year period by the following:
Formal training, clinical internship, examination
a .At least 18 years of age
b. High school diploma, or equivalent
c. Complete a Board approved hyperbaric medicine introductory course
d. Complete the Board approved TCOM Introductory Course
e. Complete a minimum clinical internship of 480 hours of undersea, hyperbaric or aviation technology/medicine
f. Provide a letter of recommendation from present employer, administrator or medical director
g. Provide proof of prior training/certification/licensure in one of the required vocations listed below:
It is not the intention of the Board to provide an “entry level” pathway for certification in hyperbaric technology. Certification is made available as an “added qualification” for licensed health care, and related, professionals whose professional duties include the medical and/or technical application of undersea, hyperbaric or aviation medicine.
a. Respiratory Therapist
b. Diver Medic
c. Physician Assistant
e. Medical Service Specialist
h. Registered Nurse
k. Certified Nurse Aide
l. Medical Assistant
n. Medical Researcher
o. Others approved by the Board (case by case)
It really is up to each individual to keep up with their own certifications. In many instances it is easy to forget due to the fast paced tempo many hospital centers operate at nowadays. Having a second eye on such issues may provide for better planning and execution of getting everyone in the clinical side to be up to date with their training and certifications. Human Resource managers, Safety Managers, Hyperbaric Managers, or even Program Directors can be utilized for such a task.