what do you expect from your unit secretary?

  1. Hi everyone!

    I am a first year nursing student (I start this fall) who has been offered a job as a unit sec in ICU. What are some of the most helpful things your unit sec. does for you? How about least helpful and most annoying? I have been a lab receptionist and medical clerk but have not worked on a hospital floor and would love some advice. My mom is an RN and gave me some good pointers (be organized, know where everything is, keep a calm, helpful, pleasant attitude and help the floor nurses in any way possible). Thanks for the imput!

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    About allthingsbright

    Joined: May '02; Posts: 1,595; Likes: 201
    Labor and Delivery RN
    Specialty: LDRP


  3. by   RNforLongTime
    Your mom's given you some good advice! A good Unit secretary is worth her weight in gold! If it weren't for some UC's where I've worked the place would go to he!! in a handbasket! Good Luck!
  4. by   allthingsbright
    LOL! Thanks! I have heard that about unit secretaries...I hope I make a good one! I KNOW I will do my best!

  5. by   BadBird
    How about no smoke breaks when there are stat orders to take off or new admissions to enter into computer. That is one of my pet peeves.
  6. by   live4today
    What do I expect from a unit secretary????


    Seriously though......I have worked with some fantastic Unit Secretaries. MOST hospital units could NOT function well without one. I have also had the unfortunate workday where I wish I had the power to FIRE a few of them. SOME feel like they were hired to set their alarm clocks to get out of bed and get dressed for the job called "Unit Secretary", to show up to PAINT THEIR FRICKIN' NAILS, CHACK ON GUM, TALK TO BUDDIES ON THE PHONE, AND ROLL THEIR EYES AT ANYONE WHO DARED ASK THEM FOR ANYTHING WORK RELATED.

    I'm sure you are not going to be one of THOSE unit secretaries! :kiss
    Last edit by live4today on Jun 29, '02
  7. by   HazelLPN
    Our unit clerks (we don't call them secretaries---the guys really hate to be called that) pretty much run the unit. All of them seem to know what you want before you even ask for it. A good one not only does his/her routine work of transcription of orders, computer order entry, etc, but also monitors the unit as to what each situation might require.
    The hospital that I work at has many college students who work as clerks, many are pre med, nursing or allied health students. They are wonderful because they are alll want to learn and enjoy what they do. Unfortunately, they graduate, move on, and we have to get a new crew every four years or so. Neat people.
  8. by   VivaLasViejas
    I LOOOOOOOVE unit aides.......almost all of ours are nothing less than terrific. We do have one who intimidates some of the newer and younger nurses (who then come to ME to complain........why, I don't know, because I sure don't do the hiring!) and has done some truly rude things, like giving a nurse with 5 or 6 patients the next admit when there's a couple of nurses who have only 3 or 4 apiece. She's one of those who, if she doesn't like you, makes your life hell in every way she can. (She likes me, thank goodness, but she also knows I don't put up with ANYBODY'S crap.)

    A good unit secretary can literally keep the department running when the computers OR the patients crash.........answer the phone, input orders, direct visitors, put charts together, AND leap tall buildings in a single bound.......catch everyone up on gossip while taking down admission information from the ER.......stop a quarrel from developing between staff members who've already had three admits apiece today, and even keep the sh** from hitting the fan because no one's willing to take the next one!

    Good luck to you. I'm sure you will do a wonderful job!
  9. by   howie122832
    I obviously expect way too much from the one that works on my unit!! She is the laziest oxygen thief I've ever met!! I have to find her every time I have orders that I need taken off, or most times I just do them myself! Just my opinion about the one I work with, but I'm sure there are some great ones out there!!! Oh, how I wish I worked with them!!
  10. by   jadednurse
    Oxygen thief?!?! I love it howie...
  11. by   LadyNASDAQ
    Hopefully this will be your best advice...

    take a look at the Unit. Who is struggling, which patient is crashing what is going on???? You offer to call a Dr. You offer to go get a stat needed item from the central supply area. You are helping to save a life.

    If a Nurse can not come to the phone, find out who it is first and tell the nurse who may just ask you to put it on hold because it is stat important or... take a phone number and the party will be called back as soon as possible.
  12. by   CCU NRS
    There is a lot of good info here. What ever you decide always put forth 100% and do the best you can and be courteous and helpful and probably less than half of those you work with will treat you like their own personal secretary. For those that try explain in a firm manner that you will get to their orders as soon as humanly possible
  13. by   Celia M
    Amy, Our US is a NA (and nursing school student too) and is a great asset. She measures our hourly urines with out being asked. She answers lights quickly and is always available to help with bathing turning etc> As far as US duties she answers the phone promptly, takes off orders quickly, copies charts and acts as a runner in emergencies. She also has a great sense of humor and is a good cook.

  14. by   ShredMan
    As a Unit Sec. your nurses depend on you for everything. Everything that comes into the Unit goes through you. The Nurse in charge is your best friend. She/He Tells you where and when your patients are coming from or going to. You put charts together, take off orders, basically a go-for extraordinaire. It's a great job, it's a stressful job. I'm going into nursing school next year, and am doing this for experience. If you can make it as a U. Sec. I'm sure being a nurse will be easier...hopefully...I work in the CCU at my hospital and it's pretty awesome.