I am the Unit Coordinator on the Orthopedic Unit. My job requires multi-tasking and organizational skills. As a coordinator, I am one of the most important people on the Orthopedic unit.
I’m responsible for the first impression that family, friends, staff and volunteers get when they approach the Orthopedic unit desk. I greet each one with respect and courtesy. In the course of a day, I deal with many hospital departments, clinics, nursing homes and other hospitals. My first priority is answering patients’ call lights and notifying the appropriate staff member. I make sure that physicans’ orders are entered correctly into the computer system and I make sure that the staff is notified of scheduled procedures and that the patients are ready. I am responsible for admitting patients to the unit and for discharging them. To accomplish all this, I work closely with the Clinical Nurse Manager on the daily operation of the unit.
My career in health care started in high school twenty-eight years ago. My high school had co-op programs. I took health careers courses and during my senior year I worked in a small community hospital as a nursing assistant where I was paid and earned school credits. In addition, I took an EMT course two evenings a week. I’ll never forget the instructor who said to always remember that patients come first.
I have since worked in nursing homes and other hospitals. I have had experience as a physical therapy aide, an emergency room tech, an EKG technician, Central Supply technician, and Pharmacy technician. I have been the Orthopedic Unit Coordinator at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison, Wisconsin, for the past fifteen years.
I enjoy my job because of the physicians, residents and staff with whom I work. They are all very experienced and well-trained. In Orthopedics, there are always new types of procedures and equipment being introduced to improve the operation of the unit. Our goal is to make sure that the patient with a new hip or knee or a trauma patient has a better life, hopefully pain free. I work with people in Sports Medicine, Spine, Trauma, Joint Replacement, and Hand & Wrist. There’s a lot of variety and I’m always learning.
I am fortunate to work with three other unit coordinators who are experienced and well-trained. I enjoy working with them. The clinical nurse manager makes sure that we are well-informed and prepared to do the job. She knows that we will get things done.
The worst part of my job is when a crisis occurs on the unit, such as a code (emergency) or when a patient has thrown a blood clot and doesn’t make it. But that is stressful to any staff or unit. The most rewarding part of my occupation is when patients are discharged to home, to rehabilitation, or to a nursing home and they say, “Thanks for the great job!”