Do the Next Right Thing: Kurtis Read

March 21, 2024
Do the Next Right Thing: Kurtis Read

Kurtis Read thinks ahead.

NH+C honors select employees each year as part of our Do the Next Right Thing initiative that empowers every individual on staff to help provide the best experience possible for patients, guests, and each other. We're proud to honor Kurtis for stepping up as an interim director of his department to make sure things ran smoothly for patients, and for his colleagues.

Kurtis served as interim director of Respiratory Therapy for three months. He kept up the quality of patient care, steering the small RT staff as a reliable, responsive team for hospitalists and Med/Surg nurses.

Hospitalists and nurses consult with RT, often on urgent situations. “I made sure we had our materials organized so when a situation popped up, we can respond easily,” he says. 

Kurtis credits the core principals of Respiratory Therapy: preparation, process, communication. 

“We prepare ahead, and we lean on each other,” he says. 

“Preparation is a basic part of our work, so that helped a lot. We do a lot of scenario planning: What if this happened with a patient, how would we respond and do we have the resources ready?”

Respiratory Therapists “are like doomsday preppers: We do a lot of behind-the-scenes prep for different possibilities, to have kits ready to respond quickly,” he explains. “Doctors and medical staff prepare daily for surgical and medical patients – and when a complication happens that can get worse quickly, we want to be prepared for it.”

Kurtis credits RT Director Stacey Zell for “setting a very good framework for the department to function, and a great example for us to follow.”

Respiratory Therapists also have a strong network across hospitals, “so we can share ideas,” Kurtis explains. “RT is a small department almost everywhere, so we all know each other and can call each other to trade information.” 

That collegiality is “a great setup to have a go-to person for the right expertise needed in the moment, whatever situation arises. There’s a built-in trust in each other that brings the expertise a patient needs, when they need it,” Kurtis says. 

“Stacey has done a good job emphasizing how important it is to keep resources and contacts in place.” 

With Stacey out, the department was also down one full-time therapist. Kurtis covered that, too. “I picked up a lot of extra shifts so quality of care stayed consistent,” he says. Plus, Stacey was always a resource for me.”

Stacey says Kurtis filled countless shifts and took endless call to make sure that patients were taken care of, and that nursing staff was supported day and night. He worked with supply chain to keep up on back-ordered supplies, met with vendors, and started a new durable medical equipment ordering process for the hospital. 

“Kurtis demonstrated extraordinary dedication to our hospital, and exemplified what is means to work in and support a community hospital,” Stacey says.

“It was a lot of work, but I knew that if I needed to be out, Stacey and the team would pick up the slack for me,” Kurtis demurs. “We all have strengths in certain areas, and can tap those strengths for the team.”