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Hospital Unit Secretaries

CNA/MA Article   (35,545 Views 27 Comments 576 Words)

TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a CRRN, now a case management RN.

19 Likes; 1 Follower; 228 Articles; 315,261 Visitors; 27,607 Posts

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The hospital unit secretary is vitally important to the smooth day-to-day operations of the unit or floor. Unit secretaries perform essential secretarial duties such as answering phones, assembling charts, making appointments, entering patient data, generating face sheets, and so much more. You are reading page 2 of Hospital Unit Secretaries. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

2,796 Visitors; 48 Posts

I love/love/love our unit secretaries. Before we went EMR, I was amazed at what they could do. The organization. The detail. Juggling 4-5 admits all at once. My head would have exploded.

Since we went EMR, I'm just as amazed at what they can do. I don't know about any other hospital, but where I work they're invaluable.

i think i speak for all unit secretaries...........thank you for believing in us. we work hard.

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brandy1017 works as a RN.

31 Likes; 36,961 Visitors; 2,225 Posts

It seems the hospitals are cutting unit secretaries and making them function as CNA's. They are needed and indispensible, but frankly they barely make a living wage. I honestly don't know how so many workers are able to pay the bills and keep a roof over their head! Why do the CEO's get millions, but the workers get peanuts! It's a sad state of affairs in America!

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2,342 Visitors; 43 Posts

My first healthcare job was as a unit secretary. I LOVED my job and its the reason why I wanted to become a nurse.

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PD82 has 3 years experience and works as a Pediatric RN.

6,334 Visitors; 491 Posts

Im a pct AND unit secretary in my unit with 17 beds. Vital signs-and charting them, blood sugars, showers, bathroom assistance, admits, discharges, break down and set up of rooms, transfers, charting orders, answering pt call lights and telephone, etc etc etc.....

My position was new, so when I started I was thrown into the tigers den and had to create my own routine. Ive been at it almost a year, and not to sound cocky but I am good at my job and can juggle multiple tasks at an given time. I love the nurses I work with and I think they are an amazing team.

I feel sorry for those who see US's as lazy or dispensable, that just makes the rest of us look bad. A hard working US/PCT can be a lifesaver.

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taydian works as a RN Psych Unit.

1,208 Visitors; 33 Posts

I love having a unit secretary. I used to work evening shift at my previous job so there was no need for a secretary. But now I work day shift at a new job. Last Friday, we had so many call-outs campus-wide, including our unit secretary. I'm still pretty new there and I haven't fully learned every little thing at the job. I was charge nurse and the phones kept ringing and I had to make a lot of phone calls as well. It sucked. It was good in that I need to experience things like that to learn, but holy hell it wasn't fun.

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Glycerine82 has 3 years experience as a LPN and works as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

10 Likes; 25,272 Visitors; 1,933 Posts

Our unit secretary's were paid 5-6 dollars an hour more than the nurses aides. They were even paid more than the LPNs. If the nurses aides cross trained to work as a unit secretary they only got an extra 1 dollar per hour. Due to this experience, I feel like we can do without this unskilled labor while the nurses aides are bending over backward to be overworked and abused.

Yeah, thats insane! I'm cross-trained to work both and got 1.00 more because of it. The nurses used to love it when I would work because I could jump up and help or sit down and put orders in. They eventually made it so that all CNAs had to learn to do the job, although many did everything they could to get out of it. I found it really stressful, and the attitude I would get when I would call someone to tell them about something a pt. needed was just awful! I think a lot of the time the person on the other end would forget that I work the floor too, so I knew what was a reasonable reason for saying "can't do it, call the nurse" and what wasn't!

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Glycerine82 has 3 years experience as a LPN and works as a Licensed Practical Nurse.

10 Likes; 25,272 Visitors; 1,933 Posts

Well Well Well Im a unit secetary have been for 8 years now. I love my job and the nurse, cna's and doctors i work with. Although sometime it gets very hetic. Due to the fact i work the busiest shift (3pm to 11pm) we deal with a lot. On one of the post that was made it referenced cross training the cna to do a clerk job. honestly in the hospital i work in that will never work. Most times the clerks are the go to person for the floor. True enough we are covering some time 2 to 3 units in a shift. Yet We still are able to know whats going on. If im working the whole floor which is 3 different units holding 80 patients. there is never a time when anyone comes to me asking if the patient went for a test or is off the floor. Most times the nurses are so busy with their patients that they rely on us so much if we were not that i just wonder what will happen.

when it comes to the cna's they are over worked to to add more work to them for just $1 more doesnt make sense to me. But again who am i. I know my job and i do it will. I really hate for people to bash clerks i feel until you are placed in our position you have no room to talk. Im a mother, full time student and a full time worker and i make it do what it do. I love it.

I do both but never at the same time. I would either be scheduled to work secretary or to work Aide. This way they could pull me for either position in the event of a call out. I know both jobs inside and out and often had whoever is working secretary call me to ask questions. I love it too. It can be really under appreciated, in my opinion but I think the nurses on this forum are talking about the secretarys who sit at the computer printing coupons all night or are on facebook. Some of us do our jobs, but at least where I work there were a few who didn't.

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SparklesMedic works as a Student.

2,943 Visitors; 130 Posts

I've was a unit secretary years ago in a dialysis unit. I was also a pt tech. As a pt tech I had a max of 6 patients to attend to at any given time. I truly enjoyed the interaction and did my job well. As a US I had 160 pts including all shifts. It was before computers and I did all the ordering for everything from supplies to lab work, all the chart maintenance, keeping nurse schedules, patient schedules, arranging pt transportation, finding pts who didnt show up, sending or taking patients to the hospital if needed, taking labwork to the lab, taking Dr's notes when asked, holding wound sites and a myriad of other responsibilities. All on $5.10 at the time. It was hectic, it was too much and I loved every minute. I took pride in keeping that unit running smoothly. I have much respect for US who work their tails off and make it work!

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491 Visitors; 1 Post

Where I live in Canada, hospital unit coordinators (I haven't heard the word secretary in years) are an integral part of the staff in patient care. I can't believe the rude comments on this site, are they really from nurses, whom I thought were professionals? I'm presently in a unit course program that has cost me over $5000 and came onto this site because I am concerned of the job prospects now that EMR will be taking place soon at my hospital. The people in my class come from all different backgrounds, some straight out of high school but some like myself who has already seen my past career obliterated by technology. We even have an archeologist in our class. We have so far learned medical terminology and pharmacology, I don't think we're unskilled. I worked in the newspaper industry so I spend 20 years working on computers and have plenty of skill there. I believe my biggest skill though is behaving professionally while working under pressure, so please have some respect.

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a CRRN, now a case management RN.

19 Likes; 1 Follower; 228 Articles; 315,261 Visitors; 27,607 Posts

Where I live in Canada, hospital unit coordinators (I haven't heard the word secretary in years) are an integral part of the staff in patient care.
Here in the States we call them either 'unit secretaries' or 'unit clerks.'

I'm presently in a unit course program that has cost me over $5000 and came onto this site because I am concerned of the job prospects now that EMR will be taking place soon at my hospital.
My workplace made the conversion to the EMR last year, yet we still have a need for unit secretaries. However, the nature of their duties have changed. Instead of manually filing, applying stickers and assembling physical charts, much of the job is now computerized.

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amorales208 works as a Student.

865 Visitors; 7 Posts

I'm amazed how disrespectful people are of unit secretaries/concierges. Sitting at the desk all day is not what the job is all about! Some floors are so unique where the job description varies in every unit. I floated almost 90% of the hospital where I work and it was not an easy feat for me to float with no medical background and only having a certificate on my back. Some floors have secretaries run errands for the floor, and some units bear over 60 beds and deal with high levels of patients entering in and out every day. We don't just make charts and squat on the computer. We're liaisons, we're mini guards, and we're assistants. We just so happen not to do vitals or any blood work. We deal with rude, disrespectful and disobedient people on a day to day basis whether it be patients themselves or visitors, smart alecky nurses or lazy nurses, cranky residents and angry attendings if its on a bad day. We have to deal with admissions and their families, who are a ball of emotions, transfers from other floors and non-stop phone calls. Depending on what unit I am on that day, this is in Psych, if family members are prohibited from obtaining info, they are PUSHY! No matter how many times I have to say "Due to HIPAA...." some people just do not understand and while they seem to care, most of the people on the unit are over the age of 17 (Illinois) aka ADULTS. Nurses have their fair share of pressure, but we're in this together whether or not they're "skilled" Its to be a teamwork effort instead it appears nurses like to look down on secretaries a lot of the times. That's unprofessional especially if most just stay within their job description.

I know nurses who used to be US/UCs and they're much sweeter towards the clerical help than those who never held that position before. I can assure that once I start nursing, I am to be much understanding and nicer to clerks/secretaries simply because I know what it is like.

There is more to the job than just chilling at the desk.

Edited by amorales208

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KJoRN81 has 4 years experience as a RN and works as a Med Psych RN.

11 Likes; 6,844 Visitors; 133 Posts

I'm amazed how disrespectful people are of unit secretaries/concierges. Sitting at the desk all day is not what the job is all about! Some floors are so unique where the job description varies in every unit. I floated almost 90% of the hospital where I work and it was not an easy feat for me to float with no medical background and only having a certificate on my back. Some floors have secretaries run errands for the floor, and some units bear over 60 beds and deal with high levels of patients entering in and out every day. We don't just make charts and squat on the computer. We're liaisons, we're mini guards, and we're assistants. We just so happen not to do vitals or any blood work. We deal with rude, disrespectful and disobedient people on a day to day basis whether it be patients themselves or visitors, smart alecky nurses or lazy nurses, cranky residents and angry attendings if its on a bad day. We have to deal with admissions and their families, who are a ball of emotions, transfers from other floors and non-stop phone calls. Depending on what unit I am on that day, this is in Psych, if family members are prohibited from obtaining info, they are PUSHY! No matter how many times I have to say "Due to HIPAA...." some people just do not understand and while they seem to care, most of the people on the unit are over the age of 17 (Illinois) aka ADULTS. Nurses have their fair share of pressure, but we're in this together whether or not they're "skilled" Its to be a teamwork effort instead it appears nurses like to look down on secretaries a lot of the times. That's unprofessional especially if most just stay within their job description.

I know nurses who used to be US/UCs and they're much sweeter towards the clerical help than those who never held that position before. I can assure that once I start nursing, I am to be much understanding and nicer to clerks/secretaries simply because I know what it is like.

There is more to the job than just chilling at the desk.

I totally agree with you! While in nursing school, I was a unit clerk (same thing) in a busy SICU. I dealt with family drama/trauma, comforted grieving families, & TONS of others things, while at the same time doing my regular duties.

Now I'm an RN in a different ICU & I know that all staff are crucial to the team....learned a lot as a CNA & then clerk.

Sounds like you had a rough shift. Hang in there! *hugs*

It never gets easier. You just get stronger.

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