As a patient, if you’re struggling to breathe overnight anywhere at UI Hospitals & Clinics, you’re likely going to meet Brandi Hansel or her team of respiratory therapists.
Hansel leads the respiratory care team on the night shift. Five years ago, she stepped into the role of a senior therapist on night shift and three years ago became a supervisor after receiving a bachelor’s degree in health care administration.
“I was on staff as a respiratory therapist for 18 years before I went back to school,” Hansel says. “I was ready for a challenge and a change.”
Shifting to nights
Hansel was a stranger to the night shift. While a change in shifts seemed daunting, for her, it ended up being the right decision.
“I saw it as an opportunity, and I don’t regret my decision. I have enjoyed every minute.” Hansel says. “There’s a family feel among the team. You just have this closer cohesiveness.”
Her philosophy and goal as a leader are to have a team built from connection. Hansel regularly encourages the respiratory therapists she leads to check in on one another, especially after dealing with the stressors of the pandemic.
“Leaving that shift after somebody has checked in on you, it just makes a difference in how you feel,” she says.
Transparency and empathy
Hansel says she aims to bring a powerful sense of empathy to her work, whether it be when she’s treating a patient or mentoring her team.
Her empathetic leadership skills were put to the test when—in the early days of the pandemic—information was rapidly evolving. She found her staff’s response to be better when she put an emphasis on transparency.
“They want to know when we know things and what we’re doing about it. So, the faster we could get information in, the faster that we put it out, the better they received it,” Hansel says.
It all comes back to her plan to foster connection among staff, one where employees feel supported and acknowledged at work.
“They want to know that they have someone here to share things with, share what happened with their patients, or maybe have a few minutes conversation about their own personal life,” Hansel says. “I want them to feel that with me, so I can help them on all levels.”