A unit clerk tells all!

  1. I wrote my earlier message in a fit of anger. I really love what I do. I love how busy I am. Sometimes RN's don't realize how important our job is. On the unit I work on, I'm constantly praised by the nurses for all the hard work I do. Juggling between doctors, visitors, phone calls, orders, discharges, admissions... I answer hundreds of phone calls a day. Trying to read doctors handwriting is pretty tough. I'm a nursing student right now, so I understand a lot of the frustrations all the nurses go through every day. Our unit is new as of December. Staffing is still a big issue right now. The suits seem to think 2 nurses for fifteen patients is more than plenty. For the first few months, it was one nurse for 9-10 patients! One nurse, one patient care tech, and one unit clerk. No where near enough staff! I'm still the only unit clerk for the whole floor-my usual hours are 9-5:30-(I know-banker's hours!) but I'm working overtime constantly because the suits don't want to have to hire more staff. Even the nurse manager that helped open the unit finally resigned!
    Last edit by FRN24 on Jul 21, '02
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   santhony44
    Otis Spunkmeyer? Was someone trying for a thousand?
  4. by   dawngloves
    Welcome FRN24! I have a great admirability for the ciphers of doctors handwriting. I've never worked with a clerk I didn't like, only had run ins as a patient. Thank goodness!
  5. by   night owl
    FRN24,
    I would think it is inappropriate and illegal to do tasks beyond your job description. If you're a unit clerk, you shouldn't be doing tech work unless of course it's in your job description that you're supposed to. Be careful, be very careful. Don't want to see you get in hot water just b/c they asked you to help out. Should something go wrong, they might not back you up and they'll be pointing those fingers at you. If tech work isn't in your job description they should know better than to ask you to assist them. Remember, you're only taken advantage of if you allow it.
  6. by   Love-A-Nurse
    originally posted by frn24
    i was reading through the bossy unit clerk forum, and had to create a new to kind of back both nurses and unit clerks! i am currently a nursing student. i've been a unit clerk/nurse assistant/patient care tech for five years now. i'm also an emt and a pharmacy tech. i have more knowledge than most unit clerks, and for that i constantly get taken advantage of. i'm scrambling all day between doctors, visitors, phone calls, and orders. as most nurses know, doctor's writing is horrid! you gotta be a special kind of someone to read that scrawl!
    in defense of nurses, most places in the us are way understaffed. some nurses will take help wherever they can get it. i will only refer to my particular unit when i say common sense is essential in nursing! is it appropriate to give a patient with uncontrolled blood sugars an otis-spunkmeyer muffin when you just received a finger stick result of over 500? is it appropriate to ask your unit clerk to write out your discharge orders? is it appropriate to pull the clerk away from the desk to do tech work only because you know she has the knowledge? don't get me wrong-i love helping out-but there is a fine line between assistance and abuse. i deal with nurses who don't have a clue all day long, so i apologize for sounding bitter! and i save their tooshes all the time. i love my job though!
    wow! don't be shy and welcome!
  7. by   Teshiee
    I like to say welcome and I can relate. I posted in the bossy unit clerk thread because I was a unit clerk in Labor and Delivery and you can imagine how busy it can be. Some nurses were helpful but most were expecting me to go get the patient which I use to do until they thought it was my job description and I had tell her that being a team member is one but abuse is another. Then on top of that threatening to write me up. I told her whatevev!!!! I understand plus the vast knowledge you posess you will have no problem in nursing school. I wish you well please keep in touch.
  8. by   adrienurse
    Our unit clerk is a saint. She goes way beyond the call of duty. Is is she and her friendly "reminders" of what the nurses should be doing that keep our unit together. Way too oftem my boss dumps work on her that she has no business asking a clerk to do. All this for $13/hr!
  9. by   nursecheryl
    You sound like one of the future nurses who eat their young. If you feel taken advantage of, just don't do it. I have had my experience unit clearks with bad attitudes and it sounds like you have a bad attitude. And, until you finish school don't act like you know more than a nurse. Pass the state exam before you start bragging. I have alos experienced unit clerks who are wonderful, helpful and exceptional in the jobs they do.
  10. by   mattsmom81
    You bring up a good point Cheryl, we are all in this crazy game together and teamwork is all that gets me through a tough shift with my sanity intact some days. Most of my secretaries were CNA's first so they WILL help out on the floor in a pinch and we appreciate that.

    Secretaries and CNA's...we lLUV ya, and we're so glad you're here, but PLEASE remember: a nurse can do your job but you can't do OURS. The fact you assist us does not translate to the same responsibilities. And I don't mean that rudely, just a FYI.

    If unit clerks feel overpowered by ridiculous workloads they should present the problem to their director and have a solution in mind...like maybe a printed job description so they don't get torn in 10 directions all the time. That isn't fair to anyone.I know it's tough....but healthcare is a tough field. Good luck! And WELCOME to the world of nursing!! Post often and vent when you need to....we all do!:roll
    Last edit by mattsmom81 on Jul 20, '02
  11. by   NancyRN
    I was venting here about a unit clerk who was clearly obnoxious, and who adds to the stress on my already stressful telemetry unit. I see no need for every unit clerk who happens to read this board to become defensive. We nurses don't make excuses for rude and obnoxious behavior by other nurses.

    Of course your job is necessary and important. If it weren't, believe me, you'd have been eliminated long ago by the hospital administration, whose only concern seems to be $$$.

    I do know that you all work hard, but so does everyone in Health Care. That's never an excuse for being rude.
  12. by   live4today
    originally posted by frn24
    i was reading through the bossy unit clerk forum, and had to create a new to kind of back both nurses and unit clerks! i am currently a nursing student. i've been a unit clerk/nurse assistant/patient care tech for five years now. i'm also an emt and a pharmacy tech. i have more knowledge than most unit clerks, and for that i constantly get taken advantage of. i'm scrambling all day between doctors, visitors, phone calls, and orders. as most nurses know, doctor's writing is horrid! you gotta be a special kind of someone to read that scrawl!
    in defense of nurses, most places in the us are way understaffed. some nurses will take help wherever they can get it. i will only refer to my particular unit when i say common sense is essential in nursing! is it appropriate to give a patient with uncontrolled blood sugars an otis-spunkmeyer muffin when you just received a finger stick result of over 500? is it appropriate to ask your unit clerk to write out your discharge orders? is it appropriate to pull the clerk away from the desk to do tech work only because you know she has the knowledge? don't get me wrong-i love helping out-but there is a fine line between assistance and abuse. i deal with nurses who don't have a clue all day long, so i apologize for sounding bitter! and i save their tooshes all the time. i love my job though!
    welcome frn24....i just wanted to say that i acknowledge the frustration that you are feeling as a unit clerk. i hear you when you say that you are being abused at times instead of appreciated. people who have many talents and skills often do get taken advantage of by those who are aware of that individuals talents and skills. as a nurse myself, let me say that i appreciate all that you desire to offer to your unit...knowing that you are fully capable of doing more than unit clerk activities....however...i caution you to be careful in what you stretch yourself to do on your unit so that you are not the one who ends up getting hurt by it. do not sacrifice your job and future chances to become a nurse by doing things out of your job description...no matter who ask you to do them, or no matter if you know you are capable of doing it......i say this for your own protection. in the future, if i were you, i would not tell the ones you work with how diverse you are as an employee. that way, you won't be taken advantage of by those who are constantly asking you to "do this or that just because you have shown you can do it, or told them you can do it because you have the training and knowledge to do it". again....for your own protection.

    when you do graduate nursing school, pass state boards, receive your license to practice as a nurse, please do not let on that you are a "jane of all trades" because by doing so, you open yourself up for injury....personal, emotional, mental, and spiritual injury...by the staff you work with. women in general, are a very jeolous type and will not appreciate you for who you are or for what you can do if their territory feels "stepped on" by your openly sharing that you are "gifted" in many areas. this is very sad, but very true. women in general often compete with one another on various scales in life, and it is no fun being the one who is always shunned because you know so much, or have shared so much about yourself. some of this i learned from my own personal experience, and some i learned from watching what happens to others who...like youself....share too much about your many talents and skills. somethings are better left unspoken for one's own protection. if i didn't care about you, i would not be sharing this with you right now. i wish you well in your studies as a nurse. in due time, you will come to appreciate what i am sharing with you. maybe not now.....but in due time you will.
    :kiss
    Last edit by live4today on Jul 20, '02
  13. by   night owl
    FRN24,
    Geeze, please forgive me, but I forgot to welcome you and wish you much success in your nursing studies. I get carried away when I see people being taken advantage of because I too learned the hard way, and if I worked with you, I would have stuck up for you. Remember, we're always here to give you guidence and support.
  14. by   MissyD
    mattsmom81...

    **"Secretaries and CNA's...we lLUV ya, and we're so glad you're here, but PLEASE remember: a nurse can do your job but you can't do OURS"**

    In all fairness, I will agree with you until you get to this portion. No, clerks cannot do a nurses job but a nurse cannot perform a clerks job either.
    I work in a 400 bed institution where, if a floor/unit is without a clerk they would come apart. A nurse can set in the clerks chair an attempt to do the unit clerks work but never have I seen them be able to replace one...it just won't happen.
    They may even be able to get enough done to get by...but to do their work...uh-uh

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