unit secretaries/ward clerks - page 2

They want to eliminate these positions in our hospital. Anyone working with a system that does not utilize these support positions?... Read More

  1. by   mother/babyRN
    Any way shape or form in which they can eliminate the expenses of any position, they will. We do that stuff at our facility, though the day shift is fortunate to have some help in that area every once in awhile....Too bad, because any way they can burn the nurses out, they will and do....
  2. by   BellaTerra2002
    Ya know, people, I'm starting to wonder if I really want to be a nurse.
  3. by   renerian
    Bella Terra. Yes do become a nurse. I think sometimes we nurses sound so down. It is hard job. It is part of what I am as a woman, mother and wife. It has become my identity. It would be impossible for me to separate those identities. It elevated me spiritually. It gave me much more empathy for human suffering. It made me a better mother. I volunteer which I did not do before. We get so tired from it. Even though my only hands on now is as a hospice volunteer I love being a nurse. I am now selling equipment to family members. Being a nurse is invaluable in what I do.

    As far as the topic, for which I have gotten off track, unit clerks can be your right arm.

    renerian
  4. by   nurs4kids
    Our clerks do not take our orders off, yet I STILL can not imagine the chaos that would be created if they were eliminated.

    When I was in nsg school, I worked as a Unit Secretary, and let me tell you...THAT WAS THE HARDEST JOB I EVER WORKED. It was like having ten bosses needing things all at once (the nurses, docs, patients, etc).

    We do run with just three throughtout the hospital on 11p-7a, and that works well. But throughout the other two shifts, each unit has their own..and some with high turnovers, have two.

    Nope, take the CA..do NOT take the clerk!
    Nursing must begin to refuse to accept these little extra responsibilities..
    not to mention lack of time..but could you imagine a CEO doing housekeeping duties..or nursing duties for that matter. It weakens the profession..then we become overpaid secretaries.
  5. by   Genista
    The position of unit secretary has been eliminated from pm and noc shifts on my unit. On some units in my hospital, they are not staffing unit secretaries on day shift on the weekends. That really burns me up! I work acute care, for gosh sakes. Why is it that we get deliberately short staffed on the weekend?! There's no ancillary staff & it's all up to the nurse. It is no fun, with the phone ringing off the hook, playing secretary. I am trying to do my med pass, and the darned phone keeps ringing! And it's no fun putting in and taking off all the orders yourself. At least with a unit secretary, someone can put in the orders and transfer those zillions of phone calls. The LEAD RN gets this added duty, even though we take up to a full patient assignment. And people wonder why I am burned out on nursing! It's because I am doing the job of 10 other people, plus my own, that's why!

    Nurs4kids- I agree we need to put our foot down on these practices. It DOES weaken our profession. I had the nerve to comment at work that I felt the lead RN shouldn't take a full assignment (since they put in & take off orders, and they are supposed to help run the floor & be abreast of all the patients' status). The staff nurses looked at me like I was crazy. I feel sometimes like I work with a bunch of suckers, who will take on more & more work, even outside of our duties. It's a feeling of swimming against the current. It is very frustrating!
    Last edit by Genista on Jan 5, '03
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Originally posted by KELLYGIRL
    PERSONALLY, I HAVE NOT HEARD OF ANY UNIT SECRETARY/WARD CLERK JOBS BEING ELIMINATED.... I THINK IT WOULD BE A SHAME...I WISH WE HAD A SECRETARY AT THE LTC FACILITY WHERE I WORK... WE HAVE TO CHECK OFF ALL OF OUR ORDERS AND ANSWER THE NUMEROUS PHONE CALLS DURING OUR MED PASSES....WHICH IS VERY ANNOYING ESPECIALLY WHEN WE ARE AT THE OTHER END OF THE HALL...UNIT SECRETARIES THAT I HAVE KNOWN ARE THE ABSOLUTE BEST... AS NURSES, OUR MAJOR CONCERN SHOULD BE OUR PATIENTS... NOT ANSWERING QUESTIONS OVER THE PHONE....EVEN SOMEONE TO RUN ERRANDS AND MAKE COPIES WOULD HELP US OUT TREMENDOUSLY.......SOUNDS LIKE SOMEONE WANTS TO FIND A CHEAPER WAY OUT THAT WILL ONLY HURT THE STAFF IN THE LONG RUN...........DOESN'T SURPRISE ME
    Kelly please see MY PM to you. Thanks!
  7. by   sphinx
    The hospital I used to work at, we had a generalized "tech" we had multiple tasks. They included that of a unit secretary, CNA stuff like bed baths, ambulating patients, turning them, etc; drawing blood; checking BG's; also I was on a unit that was both a birthing center and had GYN surgery, these techs also were trained as surgical technicians. They took turns doing each job, it wasn't like they did all things on one day. It worked well for us nurses, but I wasn't a tech, so I don't know how *they* felt about it!
  8. by   RNsweetie
    At the Hospital that I worked at they didn't have "unit clerks" any more now they hire only "unit assistants". Kind of the same as sphinx's situation. They need a HCA and unit clerk certificate to even be considered for the job. I agree, it seems like a great idea for the nurses and I know when I graduate I'll appreciate the extra hands on the floor, but I don't know how they feel about it. Hopefully they know what they are applying for and the duties of the job before they start. Then no room for complaints eh? Ya right........... in which hospital do you get no complaints? If any of you know let me in on it!
    Last edit by RNsweetie on Jan 5, '03
  9. by   Nursula
    Originally posted by canoehead
    And on busy shifts what about the times when no one is at the desk, if you are all in rooms are you expected to leave a naked pt and run to the phone. I suggest the passive aggressive approach- just don't answer the phone unless you are sitting in front of it. It will certainly cut down on your work for the day. [/B]

    I have recently started doing this. With 40 residents and 3 CNA's, I simply do not have the time to lock my med cart, run down the hall and answer the phone, only to find that it's a personal call for one of the staff. I do not answer the phone unless I am sitting at the desk doing paperwork. So far, no one has complained.
  10. by   P_RN
    In all my years I only came upon one Unit Secretary that I really didn't get along with. Her work was splendid. However.... she was a real Potty-mouth.

    Before she moved on, we had resolved our problems, and I wrote her a letter of recommendation.

    It is absurd to remove the secretary. They are priceless.
  11. by   ZORYA
    Nursula! I completely agree w/you...the passwive aggressive approach is a brilliant idea....What's more important? The patients or the ringing phone?
  12. by   Anaclaire
    In my experience a unit secretary can make or break the unit.

    Plain and simple as that.

    I have usually worked nights and we would often have a secretary until 11pm then we were on our own the rest of the night. On the regular floors (as opposed to the intensive care units) we shared 2 secretaries that covered the entire 650 bed hospital... we would page them on their beeper to help with admissions, but anything else was left up to us nurses to do. Needless to say, a lot of the lesser priority items were left for the day shift secretary to do in the morning, simply because we didn't have time to do everything... The day shift secretary came in never knowing how much work she'd have to do to make up for the 11-7 duties unfinished as well as all the busy work that greeted her normally on her shift. Often aggrivating for them I might add and we night shift nurses felt awful for having to leave things...

    My sister recently moved to another state and has accepted a position in a PACU (Recovery Room). Part of the orientation (and she's been a nurse 19 years) was to spend a day or two with the unit secretary learning how to answer phones, order tests, and do all the other varied functions the secretary must do. Mind you, everyone who asks the secretary for something wants their task to be done "first". :chuckle

    My sister came home that evening and told us about her day. She said that as they were finishing up, the secretary looked at her and said, "So, would you rather have my job?" and my sister said, "Girl, there is no way on earth I would want your job... I've been a nurse for 19 years and for 18 3/4 of those years I've known how important a good unit secretary is, and the only reason I didn't have the deep respect for the full 19 years was because I was too young and green the first three months as a brand new nurse to truly understand!" Susan went on to tell the secretary and us, her family, that the day was exhausting and that she will always appreciate the secretaries... not that she ever stopped appreciating them mind you!

    It's a MISTAKE for any management person to suggest deleting secretaries from our hospitals to save money. OMG! I HATE it that medicine has become a business! Anything to keep the shareholders happy seems to take precedence over everything else. When will it all end?!

    Feeling a bit depressed after thinking about it all...
    Anaclaire
    Last edit by Anaclaire on Jan 6, '03
  13. by   Teshiee
    I was a unit clerk on L&D before I became a nurse and I can tell you it is essential to have a unit secretary it is so busy especially when your floor receives admissions consistently. Unfortunately some hospitals pinch pennies and put that extra load on the nurse and it gets extra hard. They are irreplaceable!!!!!!!

close