Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Do Not Resuscitate and the Health Unit Coordinator

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. 

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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

        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.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

How to Handle Being Written Up as a Health Unit Coordinator

Have you ever been written up at work?
I have.
It was during my first year as a Health Unit Coordinator when a doctor who was upset at me because the person at HIS answering service didn't take all of the necessary information for the consult that I had called in. The doctor had that person at the answering service fired and he wanted me fired too.
My manager instead decided to write me up. That is the only times that I've been written up in the last five years.
Now things like that you just let it roll off of your back.
But when you are getting called into the office and getting multiple write-ups, then it might be time to start looking for a new job or it's time to go on the offense especially if you have not done anything wrong and are being treated unfairly.
I had to do this when I started getting dragged into the office because of “unnamed” coworkers complaining about me.
That's when I started doing my “Chain of Command”.
I would type out everything that was happening on the unit and give a copy to my boss, a copy to their boss and a copy to Human Resources.
Nine times out of ten my boss didn't have any documentation of the allegations against me. It was just “unnamed” coworkers saying that I did this or that I did that.
But when I had dates, times and places of incidents that did happen (all that could be verified) and used the terms “harassment” and “retaliation” Human Resources would intervene and investigate.

A write up I nothing more than a paper trail to defend themselves against you if things go south. That's why you must create a paper trail to defend yourself against them.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Rise of the PCA/HUC

There seems to be a trend in hospitals having one person fill two roles. The role is PUC or a PCA/HUC.

This is when you have a person who is a certified Patient Care Attendant who also works as a Health Unit Coordinator. They can answer the telephones, and input orders into the computer They can also place a patient on the bedside commode and check their blood pressure.

Over the years hospitals have attempted to fill the hole left by not having enough HUCs by having the PCAs cross train to answer the telephones and assemble patient's charts.

A simple Google search brings up multiple job openings for part time PCA/HUC. At the hospital I work for, there is a job posting for a per diem PCA/HUC right now. Usually these positions are for smaller units like an ICU or areas where they do procedures. Meaning there is a need for a HUC and a need for a PCA, but not both all of the time.

But with this upward trend of PUCs, will those who have only been HUCs be replaced? Or will they soon be required to become certified PCAs in order to keep their jobs?

So far I think the answer is no. But I do think that hospitals will push for those of us who are Health Unit Coordinators only to the bigger floors and have the PUCs do the ICUs and other smaller units.

So tell me, what do you think is going to happen?

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

What To Do When You Are Subpeonaed As A Health Unit Coordinator

I recently received a subpoena while working as a Health Unit Coordinator. I was subpoenaed because my name was on the chart and they wanted to speak with everyone whose name appeared on it. The case was from a patient who was in our hospital a few years ago. Needless to say, I didn't remember anything about the case.

I went to the predeposition with the hospital's attorney which was an eye opener. He was pointing to the printed chart and was asking me why did I do this and why did I do that. I answered honestly and truthfully.

He then explained to me what to expect from the real deposition. In the end, I wasn't required to show up because my involvement with the patient was zero and my name appearing on the chart was for documentation.

So, tell me, have you every been subpoena while doing your job as a HUC?
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