New ER volunteer questions

  1. Hi all,
    I just received a coveted position as an ER pt. rep. at my hospital. Do any of you have volunteers in the ER? I am an adult pre-nursing student, and while I know what my responsibilities are, I would love to hear from you all what you like/dislike about volunteers. I want to help pts and families, of course, but I really want to support the nurses. Any advice, warnings? I will speak to the nurses at my hospital, but I respect the opinions of those on this forum, and I would love to hear anything you have to say. Thanks!

    ~Mel'
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   dano
    I volunteered in an ER for a year while in high school. I would say the volunteers are most helpful in doing tasks you'd rather not do because you could focus on something more productive with your knowledge. I did stuff such as taking BP with the cuff, some triage, set up EKG's, run labs, transport patients to and from. Just some simple stuff that's very hard to screw up and left the staff with more time to do what they really needed to be doing.
  4. by   PyxisPrincess
    Lots of advice, starting with stocking. Now learn the departments stock room inside and out, same with the pantries, and linen closets. Learn to make up a stretcher to the department's specs, which usually varies greatly from how beds are made up on the floors. Memorize the menus so patients won't terrorize you into providing them with some delicacy which simply doesn't exist. Know how to operate and fix wheelchairs. Practice steering stretchers, both empty and occupied. Learn what cleans what and when it gets cleaned. When you get your hands on the Pt Rep's portable phone, guard it with you life and adhere to a 10 minute max on calls. If the phone is going to be used in psych holding, cut it down to 5 minutes. Smile all of the time and always look busy, even if you're only stocking chucks and diapers. Refer all medical questions to the medical staff and avoid oth agreeing and disagreeing with patients and their families. Get healthcare BLS and learn at least one wrestling manuever. Most of all, enjoy the trip, because it sure is a long, strange one!
  5. by   TazziRN
    Quote from dano
    I volunteered in an ER for a year while in high school. I would say the volunteers are most helpful in doing tasks you'd rather not do because you could focus on something more productive with your knowledge. I did stuff such as taking BP with the cuff, some triage, set up EKG's, run labs, transport patients to and from. Just some simple stuff that's very hard to screw up and left the staff with more time to do what they really needed to be doing.

    Ooooo........not to be negative, but a volunteer taking BP's and doing triage? Big no-no!!!

    Personally I love our volunteers. The only one who ever left a bad taste in my mouth was one who was so eager to watch that she pushed her way into procedures without permission and would interrupt the docs with questions at bad moments. Nothing wrong with her interest, just that her timing left a lot to be desired.
  6. by   Melina
    Thanks for the advice! My training session is this afternoon. Although I do love to watch, I am more interested in pt contact. I have never been to an ER (as a pt or family member) that had volunteers, and it was sometimes a long, lonely wait. I love the hospitals attitude toward pt treatment, but I also realize what the staff's priorities need to be. I think the only thing I'm going to struggle with is my ignorance of spanish. We have a lot of Hispanic gang violence, and a large Hispanic population in general. Well, immersion is supposed to be the best way to learn.

    ~Mel'

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