It's My Job: Sanford technician gets medical supplies to where they're neededWhen a nurse gives you a Band-Aid at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, it’s likely Jacqie Harles helped get it there.
By: Sherri Richards, INFORUM
When a nurse gives you a Band-Aid at Sanford Medical Center in Fargo, it’s likely Jacqie Harles helped get it there.
As a technician in Sanford’s Central Supply Processing and Distribution, Harles maintains the large supply carts scattered around the hospital, behind locked doors marked “clean utility.” She’s worked in the department for 8½ years.
“We do have over 100 carts, and we also have 84 what we call servers, which are actual cupboards with supplies in them,” Harles said. “When I started, we had 40 supply carts in the hospital and no servers.”
Most of the carts are 6 feet wide, 2 feet deep and more than 7 feet tall. They are lined with bins filled with medical necessities such as IV, blood procedure and urinary supplies and personal hygiene basics like soap and mouthwash.
This summer, Harles started implementing a new system that features color-coded bins, each dedicated to one kind of supply and backed with a reserve supply bin to make the replenishing process more efficient.
Staff in her department use handheld machines to do inventory. The numbers are sent to a warehouse, and the needed supplies are sent to the hospital, where other staff replenishes the carts.
“Our staff who counts, takes the inventory of the supplies, they look at about 20,000 supplies a day, but a lot of that’s duplicate items,” Harles said.
Three shifts of workers staff Central Supply Processing and Distribution 24 hours a day to make sure all the supplies and equipment gets where it needs to be.
Harles said she wants people to realize her department exists.
“Before I got this job, I never even gave it a thought how supplies and equipment gets to where they need to be and who cleans it and takes inventory and who takes care of it,” she said.
How do you make sure all the nurses are getting what they need?
I keep in contact usually with the manager, or they have some person assigned as a contact for me on the floors. They just let me know when things change – they need to increase something, decrease something, add, delete. Sometimes if they change a process, supplies change with it. If they get a new machine, supplies change with it. Sometimes they just get busy.
What’s the biggest challenge in keeping supplies where they need to be?
Space. Especially when you’re increasing or adding items, having the space to accommodate all that they want can be a challenge.
Why do you wear the scrubs, booties and cap? Is sanitation a concern?
It’s a patient-safety thing. Because we deal with clean and sterile supplies, they provide scrubs for us that are cleaned off-site. If you wore your clothes from the outside, who knows what you have on them? It gets on the package for a clean supply; they open it; it gets on the product; it could go into the patient.
Little kids, especially, look at you like you’re a doctor or a nurse, half scared of you, especially with the hat.
How do you view your role in patient care?
I view myself and even CSPD as the ghost behind the scenes. People don’t even really realize we’re there.
But they would if you didn’t do your job?
They’d know if they weren’t getting their supplies. Even that simple Band-Aid.
Do you know what all the supplies are?
There’s a lot of supplies, I’m like, “What is this for? What is that?” Some of them, you look at the description on the package, I don’t think I want to know what that’s for.
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Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556