Have any of your units eliminated secretaries since the introduction of EMR? When I first started as a nurse we were still largely using paper charting and just introducing computers. Unit secretaries were busy entering orders, faxing orders to pharmacy, making sure charts were complete and in order, thinning charts and taking trips to medical records. Now this is all done on computer. The providers enter their own orders and pharmacy automatically sees them on their end. Notes are typed on the computer and there are no charts to thin. All records are scanned into the computer, so no reason to go to medical records. The secretaries come in handy when we have an admit or discharge. Our length of stay is several weeks, so discharges are rare and admits happen maybe 4-5x per week. They also order supplies as needed- as far as I can tell this takes about an hour per week. We have a unit secretary 7am-11pm Monday-Friday. This just seems way excessive for what they do. We handle admissions without a secretary just fine at night and on weekends.
I am not one to complain about extra help, but in an age where they're cutting costs right and left, I feel like the money is better spent elsewhere. Some of the secretaries who have been there forever make more money than new grad nurses. They all make more money than our aids, who are busy all day everyday. Further, the constant member of our staff not doing any work is distracting. The secretaries often want to sit back and talk and we just don't have time for it. The last time I worked I watched our secretary have an hour personal phone call, take three breaks, and have a friend come visit for over an hour. My manager said something about the friend visit, and she just said she was still doing her job by answering the phones when try rang.
There was talk a few years back about cross training the secretaries as aids so they could do aid duties when not busy. That never happened.
So, do you still have secretaries? How often? What do they do?