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How To Be Proactive As A Health Unit Coordinator (Video)

Recently, I had the opportunity to work in the Emergency Department as a Health Unit Coordinator.

I usually work in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, but it was my day off, and I didn't have anything else to do, so I decided to go to work and make some money.

Though this was my first time working there, I was asked to work there to help the new HUC orientee.  The person who was training him had called off. The Nursing Supervisor had faith in me because she knew that I'm a quick learner, already knew the computer system, knew the doctors and knew how everything flowed in the hospital. 

So mainly we were leaning on each other. 

 Living in South Florida, we have the "Snowbirds" (people who live elsewhere, like Michigan or New York most of the year and live in South Florida during the winter), so the Emergency Department started off slow but quickly picked up. 

But there were somethings that I noticed right away that could be improved. 

They needed two HUCs (which they did have, but the other one came in three hours later, and they did not work together. One was on one side of the ER, and the other one was on the other side of the ER. I never saw her again after she clocked in) that worked together - as a team. South Florida ERs are dealing with a triple whammy; the opioid crisis, Snowbirds, and this horrible flu season. The HUCs needed to be sitting next to or across from each other handling the craziness together. 

The HUCs needed to learn the computer system. It's so busy that they don't have time to explore the system. And when they charted that they had called in a consult, it was placed in an area where none of the other HUCs in the hospital looked. So it seemed as if the consult never got called and then the HUCs on the floor had to do double work. 

They also do double work! They have to call the Attending Doctor, and they write it down on a piece of paper and keep it for legal reason. I asked the guy, "Why don't you just chart it on the computer?" 

I got a ho-hum answer. 

They all needed training on how to be proactive. Being proactive means to be prepared for a future situation, rather than waiting for it to happened and then reacting to it. The ER can change in an instant! 

I was told that if I ever wanted to sign up and work extra down there, I could. 

I just smiled. 

They don't realize that I'm the best at what I do. 

Increased Workload as a Health Unit Coordinator

You walk into work and the dread sets in again. It seems like you're the only Health Unit Coordinator who works there.  But instead of getting angry that your fellow HUCs are lazy and feel as if you're getting punished, look at it another way. 

Look at it as you've proven yourself, and that the boss favors you. I'm told all of the time how much they love it when I'm there. We're all being observed and critiqued and when you're appreciated people will say so. 

And look at it this way. The more work that you are doing, the faster time flies and the less gossiping you do. 

In 2008, I worked for a company that handled Workmans Compensation claims, and the recession was starting to set in, so business was starting to slow down. While some of my other coworkers were yelping, I was working. I was still processing the workman's comp. claims (there were some clinics and employers that only I handled), and I was tending to old Accounts Receivable claims. And when I handed in my two weeks notice later that year, I was told that Upper Management was not happy. They knew that they were about to lose a good employee. 

There are times now when we are short a unit coordinator, and they need me to work my unit and another unit (the units are located near each other, as they are sister floors). I've told them that sure, I'd do it on the weekends, if needed, but not during the week. I've proven myself by my work ethic and being a team player so whatever I want they'll go along with it. 

So, instead of getting angry thinking about the situation in another way can be beneficial to you in the long run. 


Do Not Resuscitate and the Health Unit Coordinator (Video)

Did you hear about this story? The story was originally published in The New England Journal of Medicine. 

A man was rushed to the University of Miami with a Do Not Resuscitate tattoo on his upper body. 

The doctors in the Emergency Room were then faced with an ethical dilemma. Do we honor this man's request or do we do everything in our power to save his life? 

They called in an ethical consultant who, after reviewing the case, told them to honor the man's wishes. A written DNR was eventually discovered and the man's wishes were honored. 

Now thankfully, you and I as Health Unit Coordinators don't have to worry about making these types of decisions. All we're responsible for is making sure that if a DNR form, Living Will, or Advanced Directive is available, that it is on the front of the chart. We're also responsible for making sure that a DNR is flagged on the outside of the chart so that all medical personnel who are involved in the case are aware. 


How to Deal with Violent Patients/Visitors as a Health Unit Coordinator (Video)

        This is a subject that anyone who works in a hospital knows well and that is violent patients and in rare cases, violent family members.

    All employers have an obligation to provide for the safety of their patients, employees, visitors, and doctors. With that said, we as employees need to always make sure that we protect ourselves.

   As a Health Unit Coordinator, I don't argue with anyone who is unreasonable and are looking for a fight. I always use my “Chain of Command” and get my immediate supervisor involved (this is usually when the patient/visitor is at the nursing station). If I see that the situation is getting out of hand, I will call security and ask them to come to the unit.

    There was a situation where a visitor was totally out of control for two days and everyone was scared to say anything to him because they were afraid that it would “set him off”. I was off on those two days, but when I came back it had totally escalated to the point that one of my coworkers was calling the police and administration were forced to take it seriously.
    We were so scared that we all had escape routes planned.
   We should not have to live in fear when we clock into work, but we should also be aware of our surroundings and be ready to run if necessary.

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