What does a patient sitter/safety attendant do exactly?

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    I have an interview as a patient sitter/safety attendant for a hospital and it's only going to be for 1 day a week and every other weekends. I read the duties briefly, but since I have no experience, I was wondering if any nurses or anyone who has knowledge can tell me about it. I'm going to get a day shift meaning 7-3. I'm also starting nursing school this semester so I thought it would help me. also, how much do you think i will get paid per hour if i work in a northern nj hospital as a sitter?
  2. 10 Comments so far...

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    They sit, talk, read to or interact with the patient, basically just keep them company. I've seen many sitters that literally do nothing more than than, they do not do patient care of any type.
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    Never heard of such a thing but it may be the same as a 1:1 where a patient needs constant supervision due to safty risks--high fall risk, suicide risk, in restraints and need continuous 1:1, escape risk, etc. that would be my guess. They put patients on 1:1 for all those reasons at most hospitals I would think--they did at the ones I have worked at here in NY. They use them through out the hospital so you would see a lot.....but you are not really allowed to do a lot, that's the only thing.........but if it gets you in the door it could help get you a position as a tech--in medical or in psych--where ever you like. We had a couple that came to sit with our psych patients that were really high risk--one girl who would swallow ANYTHING she could get her hands on for example--and when we saw how good they were with the patients we reccommended they apply for a psych tech job. So it could help. Good luck. Hope this helps.
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    We use sitters for patients that are suicidal, are in because they ODed, sometimes for patients in the DTs, and those for whom restraints aren't ideal or don't work. They have a very limited role in that their primary function is to keep the patient safe.

    They aren't allowed to assist with ADLs if the patient is a fall risk, they don't do VS, no charting. They may assist the tech in activities such as holding & rolling (for a bed change/code brown) or boosting someone up in bed. But they aren't permitted to do actual CNA activities.
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    I was a "sitter" last night and I did not sit at all. I paced the halls, running is more like it. We use CNA's as sitters though, so if patient is unable had to do all cna care also. We use sitter for reasons as posted above and also for people who are involuntarily committed but not on the psych ward, but on a medical floor.
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    I used to be a sitter but I was I also a CNA. I did all vitals signs, adl care, kept patients safe, and reported abnormalities to RN or LPN on staff. It was a great job. Just would not advise night shift due to it being hard to stay awake.
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    Quote from NurseLoveJoy88
    I used to be a sitter but I was I also a CNA. I did all vitals signs, adl care, kept patients safe, and reported abnormalities to RN or LPN on staff. It was a great job. Just would not advise night shift due to it being hard to stay awake.
    Back in my nursing assistant days did the same, basically as outlined above.

    Tasks varied from normal assistant duties (feeding, bedmaking, vital signs, observation, adl care, etc...), to doing nothing more than literally *sitting* there for eight hours. The later usually involved attempted suicide patients, and the elderly especially those whom were confused/prone to walking off. There were also plenty of cases where the family simply wanted 24/7 private duty nursing care, but couldn't (or wouldn't) spring for a LPN or RN. In which case it could feel like several hours of being a glorified "lady in waiting" at best, or simply "step and fetchit".

    Nights can be tough because it it hard to say awake when all the lights are out, televisions are off and if you are on the floors or a quiet unit, there isn't anyone to interact with once your patient has gone to sleep.

    Keep in mind at many hospitals "one to one" as it is now called, means just that (as it did in my day). Be your charge in the ER, CCU, or on a floor most times policy means you must stay sit sitting *right there*. If you need to go to the powder room, take your break/meals etc, you must wait for the nursing staff to arrange coverage.

    Funny this should come up; was just at local NYC hospital ER with a friend earlier this week, and the elderly gentleman on the next stretcher had a 1:1 aide (provided by the hospital). Apparently the man was confused, and also had tried to leave the ER, so not only was he restrained (tied to the stretcher), but an aide was engaged and a not long after a dose of Klonopin was given.

    Around mid-night my ears prick up hearing a male voice screaming "she should be written up, .... she abandoned her patient, ... get the nursing office on the phone..). I looked around and noticed the aide who as sitting with the above patient was no longer sitting next to me (small quarters in this ER), later from the aide was seconded down from another floor that she simply walked out and went home because her shift was over. No good-bye, no reporting off, just got her gear and went.
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    I work as a nurse's aide but our hospital also uses us to sit patients that are suicidal, combatative, pulling at tubes & IVs, etc. You usually must chart and fill out forms, either paper or electronic (in our case its electronic charting on computer) every so often during the shift concerning patient LOC, actions, reactions, and your specific interventions. As was mentioned above by another responder you must actually watch the patient closely at all times - especially the suicide watch ones. Even when they go to the bathroom. They have NAs and CNAs do the sitting where I work so that we can perform patient care if we need to and take Q4 vitals also. We do 12 hour shifts at the hospital where I work so it gets to be a long shift, regardless if the patient sleeps the whole time or is restless and awake. I once had a patient who was pulling at his IV and tubes all the time and I had to literally sit at the side of his bed. At one point I wasn't quick enough and he pulled an IV out of his arm - there was blood all over the place. I noticed that the next night he was in soft restraints and did not have a sitter. You must stay with the patient even if they are transferred to another unit, and until you are relieved by someone else - includes bathroom breaks etc. I'd say that in your case it would be a good job to have to get your foot in the door so you'll have some idea of what patient care is like.

    I am studying to be an RN right now myself - in Block 1 - best of luck in your studies :-)
    Last edit by AZ_LPN_8_26_13 on Jan 5, '11 : Reason: additional info
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    I am an R.N. in training, and will graduate in early 2014 (hopefully). I just applied to a hospital for a P/T sitter and wasn't really sure what the job entailed, so all these comments really are helpful. Thanks to everyone that takes the time to answer these posts. Like mentioned previously mentalhealthrn, I am hoping to get my foot in the door to a better position at the hospital later on. Happy Holidays to everyone, and keep up the good work!
  11. 0
    We call them 'specials'in Australia and at our hospital we have nursing assistants on the casual pool who only special. It's for patients who are likely to climb over the bed-rails, are intrusive wanderers, exit seekers or very high falls risk. They do all the usual patient care - adl's, bed-making, checking vitals but are generally there to keep them safe and provide some form of distraction other than wandering. Although some specials we've had recently might as well have not bothered coming at all!!


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