Patient Transporter Job Description
Patient transporters are responsible for getting people receiving medical care from one place to another in hospitals and other healthcare facilities. This may involve wheeling someone onto an elevator to bring the patient to another floor for lab tests, assisting a person being released into the family car, or even toting a stretcher to meet an incoming helicopter. Because their job requires bending, lifting, and a good deal of time on their feet, patient transporters possess stamina, strength, and are in good physical shape. Patient transporters generally work full-time hours. While many are needed during the day when activity is highest, their services are also required on nights, weekends, and holidays. The work environment can sometimes be both physically and emotionally draining during times of high volume.
Careful and accurate movement of patients is an ongoing activity at medical establishments, so the need for patient transporters is expected to remain strong. The Bureau of Labor Statistics, which categorizes patient transporters under “Orderlies,” predicts an 11 percent increase in job prospects between 2014 and 2024. Much of this growth is the result of the aging of Baby Boomers and the help they will require while seeking medical care.
Patient Transporter Duties and Responsibilities
Fulfilling the goal of bringing patients where they need to be requires a variety of tasks. Our analysis of job postings reveals the following as some of the central responsibilities expected of patient transporters:
Moving and Aiding Patients
At the heart of being a patient transporter is doing what the title suggests–transporting patients. Patient transporters help people onto transporting devices such as wheelchairs and secure them in place. They wheel or carry the device to the proper location. This place could be inside the hospital, such as an operating room or a lab to draw blood. It also could be outside the facility, such as to a waiting ambulance bringing the patient to another hospital. Upon arrival at the destination, patient transporters often help the patient again, such as by aiding onto an examination table or helping into bed. Physically handling the person with care at all stages is necessary to avoid pain and prevent injury.
Being in a hospital is anxiety-provoking for patients and their families. Patient transporters do what they can to ease some of those worries. They may answer basic questions, such as letting the patient know where she or he is going. Depending on the situation, they may offer friendly greetings or make small talk. They also can sense when it is best to remain quiet.
Medical Related Transporting
Besides moving people, patient transporters may be called upon to move things such as specimens, equipment, medical records, lab results, and mail to different places. Some patient transporters bring deceased patients to the mortuary.
Executing Safety Precautions
Patient transporters are expected to know and follow procedures to keep operations flowing and maintain a safe environment. For instance, they need to double-check information to ensure they are moving the correct person to the proper area. During the journey, they should regularly inspect the patient, the transport device, and the environment for any problems such as uncomfortableness, unstable positioning, tight corners, or objects in the path.
Maintaining Daily Logs
Patient transporters maintain meticulous daily logs documenting when a patient or medical related item arrives at the appropriate destination. These logs are recorded electronically and/or on paper. It is essential that the patient transporter communicate well, both verbally and in writing, to uphold accurate records.
Patient Transporter Skills
The “patient” in patient transporter doesn’t only refer to someone who requires care. Patience itself is a great virtue when dealing with people who are experiencing illness or injury. Successful patient transporters feel empathy for those they serve and try to make the experience of moving as painless, safe, and pleasant as possible. Other qualities hiring managers like to see in candidates for patient transporter positions include:
- Exhibiting good interpersonal skills to get along with patients
- Valuing teamwork because moving patients often requires multiple employees
- Listening carefully to instructions to get patients to the correct place in the easiest manner possible
- Following procedures to ensure safety and compliance with regulations
- Taking pride in one’s work and its contribution to the overall healthcare system
Patient Transporter Tools of the Trade
As they go about providing their important services, patient transporters often use:
- Wheelchairs – A chair with wheels commonly used to transport patients capable of sitting up
- Stretchers – A cot-like device on which a patient can be carried by people holding the ends
- Movable beds – A bed with wheels that allows a patient to be transported while remaining horizontal
- Logs – Records (written and/or electronic) stating the time when a person has been delivered to a new location
Patient Transporter Education and Training
Patient transporters usually hold a high school diploma. New hires can expect a period of on-the-job training. Patient transporters may be required to become certified in CPR. To increase job prospects, some patient transporters complete classes leading to certification by the National Association of Healthcare Transport Management.
Patient Transporter Salary
The median annual salary for patient transporters, categorized by the BLS under “Orderlies,” is $26,690. Patient transporters in the 10th percentile earn about $19,590 a year, and the highest paid make in excess of $40,100 a year. Patient transporters in Hawaii, Minnesota, and California make the highest median salaries in the U.S. at $37,850, $36,550, and $35,990, respectively.
Patient Transporter Resources
If you’re interested in making contributions to the well-being of others through employment as a patient transporter, check out these sources that can assist in bolstering your career:
National Association of Healthcare Transport Management – Since 1989, this group has been dedicated to advancing both the healthcare transport industry and the professionalism of its members. Whether you’re interested in learning about best practices or how to advance your career, this organization can help.
Patient Transport: Principles and Practice by ASTNA – Anyone involved in moving patients can benefit from reading this book, which covers issues such as teamwork, technology advances, and safety.
The Illustrated Guide to Safe Patient Handling and Movement by Audrey L. Nelson et al. – With clear examples of what is involved in getting patients from one place to another, this book offers aspiring patient transporters a good look at what the job entails.
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