J Marie Booklets


Calling in a Hospice Consult as a Unit Secretary (Video)

A doctor placing a Hospice consult on an Oncology Unit or on the Intensive Care Unit is common. It’s usually for people who are at the end of their life or when medical treatment is no longer an option.

Watch the video about to find out what goes on after the order is placed.

How to Prioritize as a Unit Secretary (Video)

One of the things that I stress is to be proactive. And by being proactive, you are in a better position to know which items to prioritize during your workday. 

Calling Clergy as a Unit Secretary (Video)

There are times when a patient/family will request clergy. When the patient is dying or if it's the patient's holy day. 

Every unit has a bookbinder that lists all the local clergy of different religions and denominations, their locations, telephone numbers, and the contact person's name. 

Once I have the right information from the patient/family, I'll get the book and place the call.  Sometimes, I'll have to leave a voicemail, and sometimes I'll speak with someone from the house of worship and provide the name of the hospital, the name of the patient, their Room Number, and the reason (dying or a holy day). That person will usually give me an estimated time that the clergy will arrive. 

Sometimes, I'll go into the room and inform the family or I'll let the nurse know and let them pass it on. 

It's that simple. 

When a Patient Wants a Copy of Their Medical Records (Video)

Whenever a patient wants a copy of their medical records, usually the patient, family member or nurse will ask for a Medical Record Request Form. 

They can either fill out the form and take it down to the Medical Records Department themselves and get their own medical information once they're discharged. 

Or they can fill out the form and give it to you for you to place it directly on the front of the chart. Usually, the patient will write the address where they want the medical records sent (their doctor or themselves). By placing it directly on the front of the chart, when you break the chart down, the first thing that Medical Records will see is that form request and they can get right on top of it.   


3 Tips for New Unit Secretaries (Video)

These are the 3 Tips I would give to the new Unit Secretaries. 

Take good notes during orientation. There will be tests/exams that you will order daily, weekly, or monthly. Then there will be tests/exams that will be ordered once every blue moon. So what you see in orientation may not come around for a while, so that's why it is best to write everything down. 

There are a lot of different personalities in the hospital. From the nurses, doctors, patients, visitors, vendors, etc., people are stressed. One thing that I would recommend is to understand this and walk away when necessary. 

Burnout may happen. You need to know your body and know your limitations. Overtime may be abundant in the hospital setting, and the temptation to get a lot of OT is there. Even if you choose not to work a lot, burnout could still happen. That's why I encourage you to use your PTO (Personal Time Off) and take a vacation. 

Requesting Medical Records From Another Facility (Video)

These are the steps that I take once a doctor enters an order to get medical records from another facility. 

  • Grab the Medical Records Request form. Place a patient label on the form.
  • Write the name of the facility, the city, and the state where it is located, the telephone and fax number. If necessary I'll call the facility and verify the Medical Records Department's fax number or verify by looking on their website. 
  • Fill in the patient's name and Date of Birth. I do not put the patient's Social Security number on the form, even though there's space for it. 
  • The date that the patient was in that facility.
  • I'll write the name of the requesting doctor and what type of record they are requesting  (lab results, x-ray results, discharge summary, etc).
  • I then hand the form to the nurse and wait for them to bring it back to me signed. Once it's signed, I'll get a fax cover sheet, fill in the required information and then fax it. 
  • Once I get a fax confirmation sheet, I'll staple all 3 pieces of paper together and place it in the front of the patient's chart. 
  • Sometimes the other facility will fax the paperwork back to the unit and sometimes they'll fax it to the Medical Records Department within the hospital. 

My Adventure in the OR as a Unit Secretary (Video)

In the above video, I'll share with you my adventure in the OR supply room, a place that I had never been to, but the two surgeons were depending on me.

In the ICU, the Neurosurgeon decided that he needed to do a bedside procedure on the patient. He had a General/Vascular Surgeon in the room with him. They realized that they needed a piece of equipment and it was located in the main Operating Room's supply closet.  

It was a Sunday afternoon and the main OR was running on a skeleton crew, and so was the ICU. There was only one person who could leave the unit to go get the part.


But I had never been down in the main OR, let alone to the supply room, but there I was gowning up and taking the special elevator down. 

I could hear people talking as they were performing surgery. 

I found the supply room and walked on in. I knew the name of what I was looking for, but after what seemed like forever I couldn't find it.   

I took the elevator back up to the ICU and placed a housecall to an OR Tech that I know, who had worked down in the main OR when times were slow in the other OR.  She knew where the equipment was located and was willing to talk me to it. 

So, I grabbed a portable hospital telephone, gowned up again, and took the special elevator back down to the OR. 

Even though the reception was fuzzy, she talked me to the piece of equipment needed. I grabbed two different sizes and up the elevator, I went. 

I took it into the patient's room where everyone was waiting. That's when General/Vascular Surgeon realized they needed something else from the supply room!

But this time he decided to go with me because he knew exactly what it was called and what it looked like. 

So together, the two of us gowned up and rode the elevator down to the OR. It did take us a minute to find it, but we did.

All in total, I spent about an hour from the first time I went down to when I was finally able to sit back down and answer the ringing telephone. 

Stories That'll Make Your Spine Tingle (Video)

In this video, I share two stories that happened at the hospital.

If you have a story that can top these, put it in the comment section below.


Calling the Funeral Home When a Patient Dies (Video)

When a patient dies their body is usually cleaned, placed in a bag and taken down to the morgue.

Usually the family calls the funeral home and makes arrangement for the pickup of their deceased loved one.

But there may be times when the family is too distraught to place that call, and either the charge nurse, the nurse or you will place that call.

When you call the funeral home, they will ask you certain questions:
  • Is the Release of Body form complete?
  • The deceased name (and gender)
  • The Next of Kin name (and their telephone number)
  • Is the body ready for pickup (has postmortem care been completed)?
  • Where to pick up the body (morgue and in the room)?

More questions may be asked, but these are the ones you can count on.


Should I Take the Flu Shot as a Unit Secretary? (Video)

Should you take the flu shot as a Unit Secretary? It is ultimately up to you, but you must be prepared for the consequences if you do not.

If the hospital that you work at requires it and you refuse to take the shot, then you might be out of a job (some places may require you to wear a mask while you’re in the hospital).

If you have religious or health objections you may be able to get around it, but it’s all strictly a case by case situation.

So, decide long and hard what you want to do.


Organ Donation and the Unit Secretary (Video)

Although I never actually saw the organ donation process happen (the removal of organs), I was an eyewitness to the events leading up to it. 

Watch the video above and hear what I saw. 

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