ICU Ward Clerks: Keeping Critical Information Close at Hand.
Friday 04 Feb 2022
Meet Diana. She’s an After-Hours Ward Clerk in an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and proud HSUWA Union Member.
It’s not often paperwork would be seen as “life or death” but in Diana’s role it can be as literal as that. As a Ward Clerk in an ICU, Diana sees critically ill patients and their families, and must perform her duties flawlessly to ensure patient information is where it needs to be, when the treating doctors or ICU Nurses require it.
Diana said, “I am the first point of call for visitors and callers in ICU and I disseminate all of the [patient] information required to people who need it.”
Diana has been in her role for over five years and has seen her workload increase with significant demand for medical services over the past eighteen months, with additional ICU beds introduced.
Ward Clerks ensure that all patient medical records and lab reports are properly completed, readily accessible for doctors and secured for patient privacy.
Diana explained, “In ICU it’s vital that things are where they are supposed to be. It’s vital that the paperwork is in the right spot so that it is quickly and easily accessible, because in an emergency in ICU, it happens fast and it’s serious.”
“There is a genuine concern that if the doctor can’t find the information they need quickly, it is the difference between them being able to give the patient the care they need, and the patient not surviving.”
Ward Clerks are required to have exceptionally high organisational skills and be calm under pressure, all whilst working unsociable hours. It also takes a special kind of strength to work in the ICU with some Ward Clerks opting not to work in ICU, because of the higher risk of seeing patients in critical condition, or in some instances, dying.
However, nothing can replicate the feeling of seeing someone in ICU recover well.
If you or a loved one has critical complications from COVID-19, you may end up in the ICU on ECMO. It takes a huge number of staff to ensure patients get the best possible health care, so consider Health Workers like Diana, in the coming months.
WA Heath Workers deserve a fair pay rise in their 2022 Union Agreement. To find out more about the HSUWA campaign, to share your story, or to join Members like Diana click here.