From Left: Patient Support Unit Secretary Melissa Brooks, Orderly Michael Allen, and Patient Support Manager Michael Wehner.

The Orderlies in our Patient Support Services department have earned the affectionate and appreciative nickname “Angels in Blue” for our efforts to make the UVM Medical Center a better place for patients and staff alike. 

Who Are We?
 
Like many departments at the UVM Medical Center, we operate around the clock, with three primary shifts and a steady staff of around sixty individuals from all walks of life. We have many young employees who work with us to gain in-house experience while pursuing further education in health care and science related fields, including pre-med, nursing, physicians assistant, radiology, and laboratory sciences. Our core staff consists of full time employees from a broad cross-section of society and multiple generations. We are also blessed with some of the finest and most dedicated volunteers you could ask for; it is with their dedication and energy that we are able to go the extra mile everyday.
 
We complete more than ten thousand jobs per month while servicing more than twenty nurses’ stations and more than thirty inpatient and outpatient testing sites at our Medical Center campus. We are fortunate to have a lot of variety within our job description and all of our tasks are essential to the operation of our hospital.

What Do We Do?

Our main focus is transporting patients all around the many buildings and corridors of our facility, with an emphasis on safety and maximum patient comfort. We have a lot of one-on-one interaction with our patients as we transport them from their rooms to testing sites and back. We do our best to ensure our patients are as comfortable as possible, establish a positive rapport, and make an otherwise stressful situation as pleasant as possible, while making every effort to operate in an efficient and timely manner.
 
In addition to our primary function as transporters we fill many important roles at the bedside:

  • Every day we send out a crew to get daily weights on non-weight bearing patients who are unable to get out of bed and require accurate daily monitoring of their weight as an essential part of their treatment and recovery.
  • We assist the nursing staff and patients in moving about within the hospital room, whether it is helping turn and boost a patient in their bed for comfort and care, or helping a patient get out of bed to sit up in a chair.
  • We build traction systems on patient beds to help the proper healing of orthopedic injuries, or simply to aid in patient mobility and independence while they are in their bed for extended periods of time.
  • We play a large part in enabling our hospital to maintain the Bariatric Hospital of Excellence designation with our skill base and the appropriate equipment to provide for the special needs of the growing bariatric population. 
  • We provide all the EKGs during the evening and night shifts and at CATS calls any hour of the day.
  • In the unfortunate event that one of our patients passes away, we transfer the deceased to the morgue and in some cases we prepare the deceased for family viewing at the morgue or in the chapel. This is a responsibility in which we strive to be sensitive, respectful, and treat our deceased with dignity.

During emergencies, we are designated rapid responders. At Code 99 (cardiac arrest) and CATS (critical access treatment support ) calls we are always among the first on the scene and prepared to provide CPR and transport the patient to the Emergency Department or the Intensive Care Unit under the direction of the code team physicians, nurses, and other technicians. In Code 8 (violent situations) we are relied upon to provide physical support to the medical team and security to restore safety and calm to the area. We are all trained and prepared to initiate MOAB (Management of Aggressive Behavior) techniques whenever deemed appropriate.
 
You will also see the “Angels in Blue” picking up and delivering lab specimens, blood products, paperwork, and a vast array of medical equipment. We complete daily checks of the hospital’s Code Carts to ensure they are in good repair and ready for use in the event of a medical emergency. 

We also share our knowledge and skills with other employees. Our orderlies orient and train new employees and volunteers, assist in the patient transport portion of the Champlain College Radiology student’s clinical curriculum, and provide CPR and MOAB training.   
 
Needless to say, everyday is an adventure for the “Angels in Blue”. We never know what challenges and rewards lay ahead of us from day to day. We are here to help our patients and staff in anyway we can, every day and every hour of the year. Please take a moment to get to know your “Angels in Blue”. We certainly look forward to meeting you and working with you when the need for our services arises.

Michael Allen is an orderly in the Patient Support Services department at the UVM Medical Center.

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