Behind the Scenes: Health Unit Coordinators

August 19, 2021

The National Association of Health Unit Coordinators recognizes this upcoming week, Aug 23-29, as Health Unit Coordinators Week.  Health Unit Coordinators week celebrates the important teamwork taking place at Shore Medical Center, and why our health unit coordinators are so vital to our mission of providing high quality, patient-centered care.

In recognition of Health Unit Coordinators week, we are dedicating this month’s “Behind the Scenes” story to our dedicated and talent Health Unit Coordinators throughout our hospital.

For those who are unfamiliar, a Health Unit Coordinator (known as HUCs) is a professional healthcare team member who performs the non-clinical functions of the nursing unit or department. These jack-of-all-trades can be found processing admissions, discharges and transfers, while always protecting confidentiality and patient rights. They are called on to operate technical equipment, manage physician orders, decipher hospital terminology and abbreviations, and comply with regulatory agency guidelines. The HUC’s help the nurses and the nurse’s aides prepare rooms for the next patient. They traverse to the lab and to medical records all while identifying potential hazards and so much more. 

Nurse Manager Jen Pero, MSN, RN said as she enters her 28th year as a nurse she remembers her first week and Maureen, the HUC who taught her lifelong secrets about time management, customer service skills, problem solving, multitasking and how to laugh in the face of adversity. 

Pero said, “Watching a seasoned HUC ‘run the desk”’ is somewhat like watching synchronized swimmers. A coordinated dance of activities – always focused, intentional and purposeful. It’s amazing what they can accomplish within the environment of ever-ringing phones, walk ups to the desk, call lights, pagers and impatient interruptions from nearly everyone walking past. Yet, patient charts emerge complete; calls are answered, triaged, and forwarded; orders are entered, verified, or canceled; patients and worried families greeted unrushed with a smile and directed on their way.” She added with a smile, “Here’s to the HUC’s who lead me to believe I am in charge, when we all know differently. Enjoy your week and know we call can’t live without you. You are appreciated by the entire Shore team. “ 

Kelly Duma, RN, BSN, NE-BC, Nurse Manager of 5 Hayes said, “The HUC position is a critical position in assuring the unit runs smoothly and efficiently. They work hand and hand with the Charge Nurse to ensure patient flow happens safely. Thank you all for being such an important part of the care team!”

This is the annual week to celebrate, honor, and thank our Health Unit Coordinators. Please take a moment this week to acknowledge one of the Health Unit Coordinators at Shore.