J Marie Booklets


Working as a Unit Secretary During a Hurricane (Video)

Due to Hurricane Irma in 2018, and because I am a Health Unit Coordinator, I had the pleasure of spending over 50 hours straight at the hospital where I work.

That wasn’t my first time being on lockdown at work. The year before, due to Hurricane Matthew,  I spent over 24 hours at work.

But I learned some things.

First, I didn't need to bring everything that I owned with me. I was so proud of myself that I only had to make two trips from my car.

Second, I packed healthy snacks. I didn’t hit up the vending machines. I actually left with all of the cash that I had brought with me.

Third, I had my sleeping arrangement already prepared. In 2017, I slept on a stretcher, and this year I said, “No way Jose.” I found a nice recliner and slept like a baby.

We were also well protected because the police department had set up a command center in our basement.

None of us knew what to expect this year. We had all breathed a sigh of relief when Hurricane Irma veered to the West Coast of Florida, but we still were going to get bands of strong winds and rain.

But work was still being done. We had a patient whose health was deteriorating. I tried calling the answering service to get the attending physician to call back, but the call wouldn’t go through. He doesn’t like to be paged overhead, so I called around to the other units asking my fellow HUCs if they had seen that particular doctor. The answer was all the same. “He was here earlier, but now he’s gone.” Finally, I had to do what I didn’t want to do. I called him on his cell phone. He was nice about it and spoke with the nurse. He gave the nurse an order for a Pulmonary consult and I placed the call to the Pulmonologist answering service.

That call went through.

We didn’t have to worry too much about the power going out because the hospital had a generator, but every time the power flickered the air condition kicked off.

On the last night of the lockdown, a doctor anonymously donated money and bought all of the employee's dinner.

But by Monday, as Hurricane Irma was working her way up Florida, everyone at the hospital was ready to go. We stepped outside to find tree limbs and debris everywhere. And it was hot and humid. The Emergency Department was quickly filling up and the post Hurricane staff was on their way in.

I’m so glad that I survived Hurricane Irma.

Now tell me, have you ever had a situation where the hospital you worked at was on lockdown? Or had a time where more than 50 patients came in at once in a trauma emergency? Then please share in the comment section.

Living Will, Power of Attorney and DNR paperwork. Where do I Put It? (Video)

If a patient has a Living Will, Power of Attorney paperwork or a DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) form where do you as a Unit Secretary put it?

Watch the above video to find out.


Being CPR Certified as a Unit Secretary (Video)

Some hospitals require all employees to be CPR Certified.

Some allow you to take a class from an independent instructor, but there are some hospitals that require you to take the class from them to cut down on fraud. 


The 4 Types of Orders and the Unit Secretary (Video)

There are 4 types of orders that Unit Secretaries will see daily.

One Time or Short Series Orders. An Echocardiograph is a perfect example of a onetime order. Once completed, it does not have to be repeated, unless a new order is put in. An H&H is a perfect example of short series order. It will look something like this: H&H q 6h x3. This is a onetime order, but it is also for a short period of time.

PRN Orders. These are orders that given as needed. The medication Zofran is a classic example. It is used to treat nausea and vomiting. If a person is experiencing nausea on and off, then this medication will be given only when the patient is experiencing nausea.
Standing Orders. These are orders that remain the same until a doctor or a nurse comes along and changes it. A perfect example of this is a diet order.
Stat Orders. Any and everything can be a stat order. A lab, a medication, a procedure, or test can be ordered stat. And usually, when something is a stat, that is not good. That means that something is going wrong or has gone wrong.


Communicating with Non-English Speaking Patients as a Unit Secretary (Video)

Having patients who speak another language is common in areas like California, Florida, New York, Texas and other areas here and there.

One thing is for sure. They get sick too.

And what can you do to assist in the facilitation of care for these non-English speaking patients?

  • Know where the telephone number is located for them to speak to a translator.
  • If there is a list of certified translators in your hospital (usually Human Resources creates this list), know where it is and how to get to it.
  • Know how to use Apps if necessary
  • Sometimes you may have to call a family member to translate for the nurse/doctor.


What is Standard Precaution? (Video)

There are some Standard Precautions that you will need to know when working in the hospital.


It’s Okay to Cry as a Unit Secretary (Video)

As Unit Secretaries we see a lot of foolishness, but we also see a lot of miracles and unfortunately, we see a lot of death.

I just wanted to assure you that it is okay to cry.


Covering Your Ass as a Unit Secretary (Video)

Are you covering your ass at work? You better be because everyone else is.

These are the 3 signs that you need to pay attention to in order to be prepared to CYA.
  • The patient/family is always at the nursing station or are always on the light wanting someone in the room.
  • The nurses start their “Take One for The Team” rotation
  • Doctors refuse consults or are hard to reach when it comes to that patient