When I started at the University of Arizona Campus Recreation in June 2019, I was excited to learn more about the safety auditor student position Aquatics oversaw.
Still in the early stages of implementation, the aquatics coordinator, Jaclyn Pryor, had trained a team of students to become experts in American Red Cross curriculum and CPR training. These students were passionate about safety training, many having worked in the medical/safety fields, and were excited to help increase the overall response of the training. The goal was to create a system to assess and coach student staff safety skills in CPR as a means to empower students to be confident in their safety skills.
After a semester in my new role, Jaclyn and I found many student employees were expressing nervousness about the audits and frustration that they did not score as high as they thought they should. The overall feedback was students felt audits were designed for them to fail. We decided our model had become too focused on assessment and not enough on coaching. This led to more intentional outreach to the supervisors of the departments to get insight on how we could improve the overall attitude toward those being audited.
With strong feedback toward making the opportunity more educational, Jaclyn and I were able to edit our assessment forms and adjust them to reflect an instructor skill chart from the Red Cross to emphasize correct form, skill and EAP protocols. Rather than focus on every aspect of the audit, we have decided to focus on the skills that sustain quality of life. Additionally, our student coordinator of safety and I were able to attend student staff trainings to give insight into why we are holding audits and that they should be viewed as an opportunity to practice CPR skills before an emergency occurs. Our goal was to become more transparent about the audits and to emphasize this is an opportunity to ask questions and get feedback about skill performance.
Since these changes have been implemented ,we have seen higher pass rates as well as more positive feedback from the students. The biggest change we made was implementing CPR audits into our semesterly all staff training so students had the option to be audited at a training rather than while at work. We designed the station to have instructors available to run practice stations and having test-out stations as well. This allowed us to get through more audits in one day than we had been in a semester.
Here are some big take-aways you can implement in your program or facility:
Make the Audits Educational
When performing audits with staff, it is vital to have materials for them to study at every shift. We laminate the audit forms and include skill charts for every work station so employees can study while at work. We urge everyone to read the charts at least one time every shift to stay sharp on their materials. When running an audit with a student, it is important to allow them time to ask some questions as well. Though some audits can be done as a surprise, the overall goal should be to help improve overall quality of care. Moreover, once an audit is complete, rather than immediately telling an individual if they passed or failed, walk through all of your feedback. By doing this, the employee should have a better idea of their performance before you announce it. This gives them the mental capacity to pay attention to your actual feedback. Finally, every audit should end with a skill demonstration, regardless of passing or failing. This elevates the auditor’s credibility, as well as gives them opportunity to educate and practice among peers.
Train Auditors to be Coaches
When performing an audit, it is easy to slip into the role of an evaluator. However, auditors should be prepared to give developmental feedback and help coach to proficiency. Rather than focus on pass/fail, train staff to catch all the small mistakes so their feedback can help improve quality of care. Coaches help you develop into the best you can be, and when evaluating CPR, the goal should always be to create and foster high-quality responders. We spent a lot of time working on giving developmental feedback with our Safety Auditor team and felt the time spent doing so has only increased the quality of audits. Our team said they felt other staff members no longer fear their presence and they feel a better sense of belonging now that others see them as a member of the team. This was primarily accomplished through transparency in our process with other staff members as well as focusing on the coaching model.
Auditors Need Practice Too
Just because you promote someone to a leadership position does not mean they never need to practice again. It is important you are meeting regularly with your audit staff to ensure no bad habits form and that you can get feedback on how they are doing. We hold a monthly meeting with all of our safety auditors as well as try to stop in on their scheduled shifts at least once a week. We do this by activating our student coordinator of safety to be their primary contact and being cognizant on when the safety auditors are present in the building. At our monthly meetings, we start with updates and go over our average audits per hour. We then get feedback on how their shifts are going as well as how the audits are being perceived, go over any unique questions asked, and end with some skill practice. This allows us to ensure the team is continuing to be evaluated and their skill performance remains at a high quality.
This is just a small insight into how campus recreation is maintaining strong CPR performance across all work areas. We are constantly assessing our best practices and utilize the student’s feedback to help make changes so our process is educational. Our goal is to never make an employee feel tricked and rather to help them feel prepared and empowered by their certification. Investing in our students’ skills is important to our department, and ensuring we have quality care at our facility is a cornerstone of our service.