Unit Clerks are Useless!

  1. Hello Everyone,
    I am a Unit Clerk working in B.C., and I will be entering into the BsN program next year. I have just recently become a unit clerk, after an 8 month course through the local college. What I want to know is if the majority of nurses value their unit clerks? As I am only 20 years old, I've dealt with a lot of older RN's commenting on how young I am and that "Unit Clerks aren't supposed to be so young...". But by far, the worst comment I've heard was when an RN told me that it was a waste of time taking the Unit Clerk course, because anything we can do, can be done by a nurse, and that we are useless and replaceable!!! I do feel a definate heirarchy amongst the nurses and unit clerks here in my town. Some of the nurses just think we are there to do whatever they want. I work in ICU, and while the nurses sit around reading magazines or playing on the computer (when they don't have patients), they yell at me to "page staffing", "sort this chart out!", ect. I know what my duties as a unit clerk are and I am very meticulous and like to be busy, but when there are only 2 patients in the unit, and the Dr hasn't been in to write orders, there is only so much that I can do. If I sit down for one minute, I'm barked at and told to go fetch the nurses coffee. I don't feel that I use my knowledge like I could, I feel more like a maid than a unit clerk. I am posting this because I am hoping for feedback as to how unit clerks are treated or if they are valued in other hospitals.
  2. Visit HUCtoRNBScN profile page

    About HUCtoRNBScN

    Joined: Jul '06; Posts: 17; Likes: 2

    52 Comments

  3. by   SharonH, RN
    Quote from Jenni_H
    Hello Everyone,
    I am a Unit Clerk working in B.C., and I will be entering into the BsN program next year. I have just recently become a unit clerk, after an 8 month course through the local college. What I want to know is if the majority of nurses value their unit clerks? As I am only 20 years old, I've dealt with a lot of older RN's commenting on how young I am and that "Unit Clerks aren't supposed to be so young...". But by far, the worst comment I've heard was when an RN told me that it was a waste of time taking the Unit Clerk course, because anything we can do, can be done by a nurse, and that we are useless and replaceable!!! I do feel a definate heirarchy amongst the nurses and unit clerks here in my town. Some of the nurses just think we are there to do whatever they want. I work in ICU, and while the nurses sit around reading magazines or playing on the computer (when they don't have patients), they yell at me to "page staffing", "sort this chart out!", ect. I know what my duties as a unit clerk are and I am very meticulous and like to be busy, but when there are only 2 patients in the unit, and the Dr hasn't been in to write orders, there is only so much that I can do. If I sit down for one minute, I'm barked at and told to go fetch the nurses coffee. I don't feel that I use my knowledge like I could, I feel more like a maid than a unit clerk. I am posting this because I am hoping for feedback as to how unit clerks are treated or if they are valued in other hospitals.

    The place you are working is unique. I have never asked a UC to fetch me coffee and the unit clerk can make the difference between you have a good day or a bad day. In fact, the UC's can make the difference between whether you have a good unit or a bad unit. They are much appreciated. You might want to look into transferring.
  4. by   Mississippi_RN
    LOL... I would rather have my Unit Clerk (Floor Secretary called here) and my CNA than I would another nurse! Having someone at the desk to put in orders, answer the phone, and basically just keep things organized is invaluable when you are having to run up and down the hall all day. I would never, ever say that my Floor Secretary is useless... or even less than priceless!
  5. by   Fiona59
    I value and love my unit clerk, if anything, I will bring her back a coffee.

    I've worked in BC and the RN's there are a very different RN from those I've worked with in Alberta. The concept of teamwork seems to be missing from their concept of nursing.

    I'll go wait to be flamed....
  6. by   MU/WVUGRADRN
    Jenni H
    I hate you are having such a tough time at your job. People write dissertations about how and why people treat others poorly.Others give lots of advice about how to manage people who do not treat others well. I will do neither.
    I just want you to know how valuable this experience will be for you as you become a nurse. I hope you learn to respect each person for their own contribution to the workplace. Your experience as a unit clerk will give you some background in transcribing orders, reading doctor's orders, recognizing medication names, etc. All will be a good background for you as you begin your nursing education. So don't let others spoil that experience.
    All I can tell you is that my butt has been saved more than once by a unit clerk.
    The nurse who told you she does not need a unit clerk probably thinks she doesn't need the doctor either.
    Best of luck with your job. If people continue to treat you poorly you may want to look elsewhere. You do not need to be treated this way.
  7. by   Elisheva
    I spent two years on med-surg. The unit secretaries were knowledgable and invaluable. I never saw an RN treat one with disrespect, but then I also never saw a nurse sitting on her can reading a magazine while on shift. We hardly had time to go to the bathroom.
  8. by   ktwlpn
    Quote from Fiona59
    I value and love my unit clerk, if anything, I will bring her back a coffee.
    Coffee,a sandwich-whatever she needs.A good unit clerk is invaluable in acute care.The not-so -good don't seem to last very long in my experince.I would think the knowledge you'll gain would be invaluable-you'll put alot of it to good use as an rn....Unit clerks here enter orders,take off orders,order labs,etc..
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    All members of a good team are like strong links...all valuable and all needed. Generalizing is never useful when expressing frustration at any given specific situation.

    Just some observations from this peanut gallery anyhow....

    Very provacative title. Would ask we keep it polite if we can! Thanks.
  10. by   santhony44
    I hate you are having such a tough time at your job. People write dissertations about how and why people treat others poorly.Others give lots of advice about how to manage people who do not treat others well. I will do neither.
    I just want you to know how valuable this experience will be for you as you become a nurse. I hope you learn to respect each person for their own contribution to the workplace.


    I agree completely- it's like the old saying that people who can't be good influences can be horrid examples. Sometimes you learn how not to do something!

    I agree with the above that a good unit clerk can make the nurses' lives infinitely easier and less stressful, and I've known some worth their weight in gold.

    If it stays this way, get out!
  11. by   staygold
    I started my first day of orienttion today as a unit clerk for the ED.A new position at a new hospital for me btw.I have no experience but this post sure does ease my nervous tension about my new job.

    P.S. congrats and good luck Jenni H with your new job
  12. by   DutchgirlRN
    Our UC's are awesome and I couldn't do my job without them. We all know it's really the UC's who hold all the power. They know everything that is going on. They are invaluable!
  13. by   P_RN
    Oh my dear NO!!!!! Unit secretaries are worth their weight in gold!! How dare those people even suggest that the Secretary is useless!!!!! No unit could survive well without you.

    You just hold your head up and learn every iota of knowledge, and when you are the RN you will be able to show appreciation to your secretary.
  14. by   snowfreeze
    I worked as a unit clerk in a busy ER for a year. I have been a nurse for almost 15 years now. The unit clerk is the glue that holds a unit together. A wonderful unit clerk I worked with knew everyones birthday and the birthdays of our kids. On top of that she could take a verbal across the unit to call cardio to pick up an ABG and her usual response was...they are on the way (she already called em when I walked past and picked up the req).
    A unit clerk is my dream co-worker, someone who puts my charts together and takes them apart, calls the doc for me when I need one while I am trying to keep his patient alive, hands me the swab for a culture that was ordered while I am in that patients isolation room, the unit clerk is the MOM of the unit.

close