In my last blog I had just started my first practicum at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital. I was extremely overwhelmed at the beginning but things did change for the better towards the end.
The first week of Nursing Unit Clerk practicum was mostly getting oriented with the unit and the staff but I jumped right in pretty fast.
The unit that I got (Acute Medicine) was a very busy unit. There was a lot going on at once and a lot of orders that needed to be processed.
As I said in my last post the unit was split into two sides, A and B. My preceptor work “day shifts” which means she is in charge of the morning routines.
Going through the weeks of practicum
The morning routine was the first thing I was expected to learn and eventually handle on my own. By the second week, I knew the morning routine very well and got it done on my own. The first two hours of the day were just spent doing the morning routine and other miscellaneous duties. The first thing I would do when I got on the unit was the “Flowsheet”. The flowsheet was where everybody working that day on the unit would initial their name to show that they were present for their shift.
As a Nursing Unit Clerk, my job was to write down all the nursing assignments for that day on the flowsheet (which patients were assigned to which nurse for the day). I was also responsible for faxing the previous days flowsheet to the staffing department after ensuring that the charge nurse had signed off on it. In the morning I was also in charge of filling up all the printers with paper, changing the dates on all the stamps around the unit and updating the nursing white boards on each side (A and B).
I also had to print out the patient lists for the day to keep at the nursing desk. The morning also consisted of answering many phone calls. Most of the calls in the morning usually came from medical imaging, the lab and the Cardiology department to let us know of patient appointments for the day. Once I was told of the appointments, I had to let the nurse who is in charge of the patient know.
Due to the unit being so busy, I did not do all the work alone. I did, however, get to work independently most of the time because my preceptor had a lot of other work to do. By the second week of my Nursing Unit Clerk practicum, I was already processing many of the physicians orders on my own but they always had to be verified by the preceptor to ensure that they were done accurately.
I always had lots of questions to ask in the day and a lot of the time if I was even slightly unsure I double checked with my preceptor to ensure I didn’t make too many mistakes. I got to process various different types of orders on this unit. From booking transport for patients to entering in blood work. I got to learn so much and apply all the different things I learned in class.
By the third week, I felt like I knew so much! I had no problem using the headset and running around the unit getting the various different tasks done. Many times I would have to relay messages to nurses or transfer phone calls to them. Most of the orders had to be faxed off to the pharmacy if there were medications to be transcribed or I had different requisitions to send off to the appropriate unit. By the end, I was doing mostly everything on my own and just going to my preceptor with any questions or concerns that I had. My favourite thing to do was process orders! There was always something different and interesting to be done.
At the beginning, I had such a hard time on the unit but I cannot believe the three weeks of practicum went by so fast and I was actually capable of doing this job by the end. My next Nursing Unit Clerk practicum starts Monday, January 25. I feel more confident going in to this practicum after how difficult my first one was! I look forward to learning even more!