Anyone worked as a unit secretary?

  1. Hi. I'm hoping to start nursing school Spring 2006. I have been applying for several unit secretary positions in my area to work while I'm starting school. Has anyone worked as a unit secretary? If so, what exactly do you do or what is a normal day like? Thanks to all who answer.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   jb2u
    hello,

    i worked as a unit clerk for a couple years, but that was a few years ago. i worked in a ccu so i was also the cardiac monitor tech.

    my typical day:
    come on print out, interpret, and chart heart monitor strips. the nurses normally wanted these within ten minutes of coming on shift. my other duties included: answering phone, answering call lights, putting together charts, transcribing orders into computer system (ie: order test, order diet, etc.), transcribing med orders to the MARs, taking lab work to the lab, paging dr's, copying chart when pt is transfered to outside facility, always knowing where the chart is (a dr.,nurse, social worker, will always ask the clerk where is so and so's chart), and while doing all this i watched the heart monitors for any changes.

    i enjoyed the job, but at times it got crazy. for example, your on the phone with the lab, two pts' call lights are going off (and the nurses for those pts are sitting literally beside the call box laughing about such and such), another nurse is asking you if you ordered a test (she/he sees your on the phone and they could easily look in chart to see where you signed off on order, they are suppose to sign off the order too anyway), and of course the second line of the phone system is ringing and no one is bothering to answer it because hey...its the clerks job.

    all this really does happen! not all days are like this but some are. and of course there are nurses that love to help out and value the clerks. because i worked hard and gave all the nurses the respect that they are due, i was liked and they loved seeing me when i came on shift, but there are always those that never appreciate the help of those that are "beneath" them.

    I've worked as a cna, unit clerk, cardiac monitor tech, and now a transporter. by far, the best job is the transporter. of course, the respect and appreciation is lacking most of the time. however, when they find out that i am a nursing student their attitude towards me changes completly! but i never tell them that i am a nsg. student because if they can't respect my contribution as a transporter then i don't care to socialize with them. my co-workers normally tell them, and when i go back to a floor they say.."i didn't know you are going to nsg. school.....blah,blah,blah."

    sorry to rant...i just want you to know that sometimes as an entry-level healthcare provider, your contribution is not always appreciated or seen as valuable. however, i encourage you to take a mental note and when you are an RN always always always treat the cna, house keeper, dietary service aide, etc. with the respect that they deserve! again not all nurses are unappreciative of the aides..so no flames please. i respect nurses and nursing and that is why i am choosing to be a nurse.

    i wish you lots of luck with your journey to become an RN.

    sincereley,
    jay
  4. by   nursewho
    Hi,

    Yes,I have worked as a unit coordinator on a maternity unit for 3 years and am in my second year of nursing school. I have found my job to be somewhat of an education in and of itself regarding terminology, labs and diagnostic testing and even how to write nurses' notes. It also gives me a fly on the wall perspective into how a nursing floor operates. You are able to interact with docs and people from other disciplines, you get to see how things work, see the interpersonal relationships between nurses themselves (and it is not always good).

    Of course as stated in the previous post, the job is not always easy. You have to deal with all sorts of personalities coming at you from every direction. And sometimes the nurses forget there are several of them and only one of you.

    I think it is a good stepping stone to nursing, that and working as a nursing assistant.

    Good Luck
  5. by   BuffyRN
    Very nice reply jb2u... any good, experienced nurse will tell you that a unit cannot run effectively or efficiently without a knowledgeable clerk and tech/CNA. I started as a unit clerk in the ER quite a while ago, long before nursing school. I've been a nurse for almost 5 years now, and can honestly say that the unit secretary sure can help make your job easier. It's a very tough job, and one that the nurses rely heavily upon, so I certainly wouldn't want to make that person feel beneath me.
  6. by   Curious1alwys
    Quote from jb2u
    hello,

    i worked as a unit clerk for a couple years, but that was a few years ago. i worked in a ccu so i was also the cardiac monitor tech.

    my typical day:
    come on print out, interpret, and chart heart monitor strips. the nurses normally wanted these within ten minutes of coming on shift. my other duties included: answering phone, answering call lights, putting together charts, transcribing orders into computer system (ie: order test, order diet, etc.), transcribing med orders to the MARs, taking lab work to the lab, paging dr's, copying chart when pt is transfered to outside facility, always knowing where the chart is (a dr.,nurse, social worker, will always ask the clerk where is so and so's chart), and while doing all this i watched the heart monitors for any changes.

    i enjoyed the job, but at times it got crazy. for example, your on the phone with the lab, two pts' call lights are going off (and the nurses for those pts are sitting literally beside the call box laughing about such and such), another nurse is asking you if you ordered a test (she/he sees your on the phone and they could easily look in chart to see where you signed off on order, they are suppose to sign off the order too anyway), and of course the second line of the phone system is ringing and no one is bothering to answer it because hey...its the clerks job.

    all this really does happen! not all days are like this but some are. and of course there are nurses that love to help out and value the clerks. because i worked hard and gave all the nurses the respect that they are due, i was liked and they loved seeing me when i came on shift, but there are always those that never appreciate the help of those that are "beneath" them.

    I've worked as a cna, unit clerk, cardiac monitor tech, and now a transporter. by far, the best job is the transporter. of course, the respect and appreciation is lacking most of the time. however, when they find out that i am a nursing student their attitude towards me changes completly! but i never tell them that i am a nsg. student because if they can't respect my contribution as a transporter then i don't care to socialize with them. my co-workers normally tell them, and when i go back to a floor they say.."i didn't know you are going to nsg. school.....blah,blah,blah."

    sorry to rant...i just want you to know that sometimes as an entry-level healthcare provider, your contribution is not always appreciated or seen as valuable. however, i encourage you to take a mental note and when you are an RN always always always treat the cna, house keeper, dietary service aide, etc. with the respect that they deserve! again not all nurses are unappreciative of the aides..so no flames please. i respect nurses and nursing and that is why i am choosing to be a nurse.

    i wish you lots of luck with your journey to become an RN.

    sincereley,
    jay
    Jay,

    Can I ask how you got your job as a transporter?? Can you describe that position and the requirements? I am trying to get my foot in the door...thanks!
  7. by   jb2u
    hello,

    i found the transporter postion on one of my local hospital's web site. i just kept searching their employment section until i found something that i was interested in.

    the job is very easy. you call into the system, it gives you a job (such as pick up pt. X at 5 south and take to MRI), you then go to 5 south, get pt. on the stretcher or wheelchair sometimes pt. will go by bed, and then take them to MRI, you then call the system to complete the job and it will give you another one.

    the only qualification needed was CPR certification. they wanted healthcare experience such as CNA, but not required. the CPR is because on the way to your destination the patient may code and you need to know what to do. other than that, you do want to know proper transfer technique so you don't hurt your back! sometimes we have 300+ patients that are being discharged home and their family member comes pulling up with an SUV. 300+ pt. can't stand so you have to get pt. out of wheelchair and then get the pt. UP into the SUV. family members stand their offering no assistance other than stating over and over " daddy can't stand, watch out for his head, put that wheel chair right here." those SUVs are killing me! we do have alot of 300+ pts. but lukily i can lift them, the bad part is because i can, i get paged to meet so and so at the west entrance for a discharge.

    i wanted to work in this department because it gives me the chance to go to every floor, get to know people, and see which floors i would be interested in working on. so far, i am glad i've done it because i know there are floors i would never ever work on because of the staff on those floors.

    good luck to you in all that you do!

    jay
  8. by   canoehead
    I am a nurse but would fill in doing secretary duties when we had none. All I can say is bring your Tylenol. I would have a headache by noon when I took that job. You have demands and questions from 5 directions at once.

    Make sure you have scrap paper handy to keep a running list of what needs to be done. I would just jot down 1 word and the person who asked, so I could ask them what they wanted if I forgot the details. You won't have time to write details at all.

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