As a technician, becoming a Certified Hyperbaric Technologist (CHT) through the National Board of Diving & Hyperbaric Medical Technology (NBDHMT) is the gold standard of excellence for persons in the field of hyperbaric medicine. Over the years we have spent countless hours building, operating and managing wound care and hyperbaric facilities for hospitals across the country. When it comes to human resource and hyperbaric technicians, we always advise hospitals to either hire CHTs or to have their technician who may be an EMT, LVN, RT, ect., strive for that next level and become licensed as a CHT. It is essential and it also shows that your center has tier 1 technicians at the helm of your program.
So, if we feel so passionate about hiring and/or having technicians achieve the level of CHT why are we so concerned about CHTs?
Lets start with some background information. First, there is no direct path way to become a CHT. A CHT license is only achieved by piggy-backing off of a clinician’s existing license, such as an EMT, LVN, RT, ect. - if you would like the exact details on qualifying to become a CHT please visit www.NBDHMT.org - but in a nut shell; clinicians are required to attended a hyperbaric medical course, complete a set amount of hours involved in the operation of a hyperbaric chamber, successfully complete a TCOM module, be proctored by an existing CHT, then sit for, and pass, the CHT examination. If you have worked hard and study diligently you should find success in your pursuit of becoming a certified hyperbaric technician
Now lets get down to the issue. Over the past few months we have been involved in the assessment of centers that are already in operation, and, what we are finding in a few of these centers, are licensed CHTs that have let their pathway license expire. While you would think that a technician would not be able to re-certify their CHT license without an updated pathway license, you would be mistaken. After sending an email to the NBDHMT with our concerns we were sent a position statement on the subject. Out of the position statement is the quote:
“It is important to understand that the NBDHMT does not require the CHT to maintain his or her qualifying vocation to be eligible for recertification; however, it is the position of the UHMS that the CHT maintain a qualifying vocation for recertification.”
The fact is, if the UHMS has a position statement of CHTs maintaining a qualifying vocation for recertification, the NBDHMT should fully enforce this position due to the fact that they are the keeper of the gate when it comes to recertification. Technicians who do not maintain their qualifying vocation especially in a clinical setting run the risk of critical failure in patient care.
Maintaining and recertifying your pathway license requires a modest amount of work; You have class room time, ceu credits, and practical exams, non of which are considered to be much fun, but all are important in the reeducation of scope, standards, and safety in patient care.
Until the NBDHMT changes their policy, we are advising the community to follow the UHMS' position on technicians maintain a qualifying path way license in addition to their CHT license. So for your hospital's human resource credentialing policy, make sure you view a CHT license as an adjudicative license and not one that should stands alone.
We believe that achieving the level of CHT is very important for technicians, but we also know that maintaining a pathway license ensures the greatest level of patient safety for your center.
Rule #5 - Always make it better.