Monday, May 14, 2012

Support Staff: The Ward Clerk

This facility has unit secretaries or ward clerks, depending on how a particular one likes to be called.  I'm not comfortable telling people what to do, even though, as the nurse, I am the one in charge.  As I have been writing, I don't have any backing in this place, so if I annoy a clerk and she takes it up with administration, I'm the one in the wrong.  The clerks don't seem to be skilled in the areas of organization or efficiency.  Am I being too kind?  Could I dare say that they could all be let go tomorrow, saving the company lots of money, and none would be missed?  If one does happen to answer the phone, the next words after "Hello" are, "Hold on, I'll get the nurse for you."  No matter who is calling and what they want.  You can't tell them that you can't make it to the phone or to help the caller themselves.  They sit wherever they are, hollering, "Nurse!  Nurse!  Oh my God, why isn't she coming to the phone?  Who does she think she is, keeping people waiting?"  Never mind if I am trying to finally grab a bite to eat, or in the bathroom, or even with a patient.

I gave up asking them where certain forms are.  Their usual response is, "Why are you asking me?  YOU'RE the NURSE!"  Or, "Why are you asking me?  I don't carry this stuff around in my pocket."  Not a single one uses a computer.  The company is slowly computerizing everything, so any clerical job that is now computerized becomes the nurse's job.

I think that they have everyone so well-trained that the clerks can feel confident that their job description is to eventually show up, drink coffee, sit around, disappear, and return by 3 pm to punch out for the day.  Am I being too critical or too kind?  I could not get away with this behavior at this facility.  Why are they such a protected class?  Secretaries can be the backbone of an office.  Not in this place.

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