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?

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Sitting With a Baker Act as a Health Unit Coordinator

We usually see them at the hospital because they are medically unstable, but the patient is a harm to themselves and/or others and they need to have someone with them at all times. Once they are cleared medically, they then are transferred to a facility that is capable of helping them with any mental issues that they are dealing with.

There are multiple reasons why someone would be 'Baker Acted' in Florida: They are violent, Non Violent, Confused, Suicidal, “Misunderstood” or Physically or Mentally Handicap. The official name is the Florida Mental Health Act, but is sometimes called the Baker Act, named after Maxine Baker, a Florida State Representative from Miami.

Some medical facilities require that a security guards stays with the patient, while others have certain employees who only job is to sit with patients like these.

Bring some materials to read and/or study while the Baker Act is asleep. Asleep is the key word. If they are awake, you must keep your eyes on them at all times.

Whatever you do, do not fall asleep. Below are two examples of what falling asleep while sitting with Baker Acts can get you.

First story: A Health Unit Coordinator was tasked with sitting with a person who was “Misunderstood”. Before you knew it, the sitter was asleep and the Baker Act took an empty soda bottle, threw it at the sleeping sitter, hitting her in the forehead, waking her up.

Second story: A Health Unit Coordinator was tasked with sitting a person. This time, the sitter put on earphones, propped her feet up and went to sleep. When she was caught, she was fired on the spot.

Bring some nuts to snack on and a soda to drink for the caffeine to keep you awake because sitting for a long period of time is tiring.

Bring an extra sweater in case the room you are in is cold.

Assist to only your ability. Example, if you wouldn't help with pulling a patient up in the bed any other time, then don't start today. Assisting someone from the bed to the chair with minimum assistance is okay. But if it takes three other people to get them from the bed to the chair, then let the nurses and CNAs/PCAs handle that.

If you are required to know CPR, then make sure it is on file, but always be prepared to call for help.

I usually like to know why someone is a Baker Act, so I try to get a quick two sentence report from the offgoing sitter. But I don't let that prejudge my opinion of them and I try my best to treat them with respect.

If the person is violent and you fear for your life then you must Speak Up!

First story: A sitter was assigned to sit with a Baker Act, but the patient was very aggressive, so the sitter stood in the doorway of the room, just in case he needed to scream for help or run for his life. They then assigned another Baker Act to that room. As soon as the first patient saw the second patient, he lunged at him and started attacking him. I had to call for security and others to come help.

Second story: During the night shift, the patient wanted the door closed, with the lights and television turned off. That meant that the patient and the sitter would be in the room together in total darkness.

No way, Jose!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

How Much Do Health Unit Coordinators Make?

Pay depends on what region of the country you are in. When I was a Health Unit Coordinator in Memphis, Tennessee more than 10 years ago, the starting base salary was under $10, but it did include shift and weekend differential. Where I am now in South Florida and with the years of experience that I have my starting salary was much higher.

A simple Google search reveals that the average Health Unit Coordinator salary on the low end is $23,000 and on the high end $29,000 per year.

If you are fresh off of the street with no medical background, but you do have computer and/or office skills than your pay will be totally different than someone who has experience as a Health Unit Coordinator who can also read EKG strips.

If you are in the market for a new job then I would suggest that you check out www.glassdoor.com, type in a hospital's name and see what current and past employees are saying about the salary there.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

And Satan Was Watching

Tom, an atheist, has decided to give his life over to God. And Satan was watching....

Booklet also includes:

Satan's Convention: Satan has called a worldwide meeting with this demons to lay out his plans to destroy every Christians' relationship with God.

Satan's Letter: Rose and Celestine are two Christians not living for Christ. And boy does Satan have a letter for them.

Satan's Garage Sale: Satan is having a garage sale. Have you bought anything that he's selling?

To and Fro: Satan is preparing to go to and fro to destroy man, but before he can do that he has to know what man are up to so that he can plan his attack.