New Grads as Monitor Techs and Secretaries?????

  1. I just found out one of the units in my hospital is using new grads as monitor techs/secretaries. There is a period of time when after graduation and before they sit for boards they are not licensed RNs, and are technically techs.

    Most units allow them to orient with a nurse, doing assessments (not passing meds) and just shadowing and helping. This unit uses them as monitor techs. These nurses were techs on the floor while in school. But they have graduated now. I'm very appalled.

    Am I the only one who thinks this is taking advantage of staff and (no offense to monitor techs and secretaries) but not using the nurses to their full potential?
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  2. 20 Comments

  3. by   CougRN
    No, I don't see this as a bad idea. When I graduated and was an "extern" but not a nurse yet I just followed a nurse around on my unit. You don't get to do much because you can't pass meds and you can't do anything really technical. At least as a monitor tech you can practice your rythm interrpretation. I mean hey they don't have to take the job. They can wait until they pass their boards to work.
  4. by   Tweety
    sorry for the double post
  5. by   Tweety
    Thanks for you input Cougrn. But an extern shouldn't feel like they aren't doing much. It's a time to learn to assess, hone your skills before you're thrown to the wolves.

    They aren't only the monitor techs they are the unit secretaries. There is no unit secretary other than the new grad.

    But I'm glad for your input, perhaps they really don't mind, but if I killed myself through school (and I did) and I was asked to be a secretary until I passed, I would be a little preturbed, but that's me, perhaps I'm too sensitive. I would rather work the floor as a CNA, at least I would be with patients.
  6. by   CougRN
    I do know what you are saying. And I can agree with it to a point. But being a night shift guy like myself I have to to all my own orders and secretary duties. So it's a good thing to learn when you are new. I may not be exactly what they are looking for and everyone is entitled to turn it down of course. But I think it could be valuable in it's own way. It's better than changing dirty beds IMO.
  7. by   lee1
    Is there a difference in the pay for an extern and a monitor tech or unit secretary? As long as the employer is paying something reasonalbe and knows that as soon as the person has passed the RN licensure exam they will be allowed to work and be paid as a RN I don't see an issue. That may be one way that at least you can get hospital acquired experience----always valuble to know at least the policies/ general layout/, etc. of an employer.
  8. by   essarge
    As soon as we graduate here, you can become a GN (graduate nurse). You are assigned a preceptor and "learn the ropes". You make just as much as any other RN that has just passed the boards. You are with a preceptor for 6 months or more if needed. I agree that I would feel upset if I was not allowed to use the skills learned in school (except keyboarding) because I didn't have my permanent liscense yet.
  9. by   CougRN
    I would be more upset that someone who can't perform the roles of an RN was being paid as someone who could. That doesn't make sense at all to me.
  10. by   purplemania
    In Texas the grads have a permit allowing them to perform as nurses, as long as they have RN supervision. Our facility offers 6 wk orientation (9 if critical care). By the time it is over all are RN's. But if your state does not have permits then you cannot use them as nurses. They are unlicensed personnel and the liability is too great to allow them to do what only licensed personnel may do. If they fail boards, that makes it even worse. The facility DOES have other options, like our orientation, OR the grad has the choice of waiting till they pass boards to get a job. We decided on the orientation so as to remain competitive in job market.
  11. by   moonshadeau
    When a nurse graduates they become graduate nurses. They are assigned to work with a preceptor and the preceptor must co-sign everything until the nurse sits for boards.

    If the nurse does not pass her/his boards, they can either work as a CNA if their license is active. Or they can work in some other function within the facility if there is an opening. They are not allowed to function as a RN, Grad Nurse or a Tech in any capacity after failure. I actually think that this is a good thing. Yes, experience in the role of the RN is important. My opinion is that what you need to know to pass boards you learned in school and not necessarily on the job. Testing on boards involves such broad subjects in comparison to the job, which is becoming rapidly specialized in its own. Waiting to take your boards until the last minute just adds to stress. I actually was starting to precept someone who failed and had to leave the facility because she didn't have her CNA license. Ok I have officially gone way off track.

    As to having new grads work as monitor techs and secretaries, I think that it is great in terms of short term. All RN's on my floor are expected to know the monitors and be able to relieve the techs when they are RN's. By being trained to function as a monitor tech, they can be more comfortable in the monitors and rhythms when complications occur. As for secretaries, I don't know about the rest of the country, but on our floor our secretaries are goddesses. By being in that role for even a day, you can understand and learn more to function as a RN. I am not saying that grads should be kept in this role but should at least be exposed to as many roles as possible to understand the RN role and everyone else's expectations.

    Only because I knew how to function as a secretary was I able to work during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. If I hadn't, I would seriously be in a money crunch right now.

    One last thing. You only get RN salary when you become a RN.

    I will stop babbling now. My two cents...
  12. by   Ortho_RN
    At the hospital I work at as a PCA.. Once you graduate you are hired on as a RN working under your temporary license... The license is good fro 3months.. During that time they orient you and you shadow a nurse, slowly taking on the full patient load.. You get paid as a RN b/c you are working as a RN... And if you do fail your boards you get dropped by to a PCA with PCA pay until you pass the boards...
  13. by   Ruby Vee
    Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    if I killed myself through school (and I did) and I was asked to be a secretary until I passed, I would be a little preturbed, but that's me, perhaps I'm too sensitive. I would rather work the floor as a CNA, at least I would be with patients.
    As a new nurse, you have lots to learn. And one of the things you have to learn is how to take off orders correctly for the times when there isn't someone to do it for you. Working as a secretary for a short time is an ideal way to learn that! And how to order a stat X-ray, where to order the SCDs from, who to call when the toilet overflows and hundreds of other things you'll need to know. It's also a good way to get to know your co-workers. Who always seems to have things under control and might be a good resource for you later and who always seems out of control or helpless? You learn how to spell medical terms and drug names, and with a PDR right next to you, you can learn if the dose you're transcribing is a correct one. And you can get to know the doctors some, too.
  14. by   Noney
    I think it's a wonderful idea. On our unit we get too many nurses that don't understand at all what the clerks do.

    You may find some longterm advantages also. The rn's that clerked may come up with some better ways for the clerks and rn's to work together after being on both sides.

    These new grads should come to the floor as new grads with strong rhythm skills, and that is a big plus.

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