A trainee nurse is asked to attend a stretcher-bearer’s working shift and discuss handling, transportation and safety of the patient with an emergency nurse.
Emergency nurse : Now that your shift is done, I’d like to go through some basics with you. Did you notice any difference between an ambulance driver and a stretcher-bearer ?
Trainee : Well, the ambulance driver assists in transporting sick, injured or recovering persons to and from the hospital. He also installs patients on stretchers and lifts and loads them into ambulances, often with assistance from other attendants.
Emergency nurse : That’s right. But they might also administer first aid including bandaging, splinting, and oxygen. Their work is basically « outside », that is they don’t go inside the hospital wards but rather transport the patient outside the hospital. And what about the stretcher-bearer ?
Trainee : From what I could notice, he is in charge of the transportation of patients inside the care units. Consequently, this requires being able to watch over the patients’ safety and have particular skills to listen to the patients’ needs and reassure them.
Emergency nurse : What are the basic yet important steps once he transports the patient out of the room ?
Trainee : First of all, he should ask the patient to give his full name in order to meet the strict rules of patient identity monitoring. This ensures that he is handling the right patient.
Emergency nurse : Quite right. The stretcher-bearer works closely with care and medical teams. A transition register for stretcher-bearers is filled out inside the wards to note the following elements : who transports the patient and where is he being transported. Can you think of other tasks that a stretcher-bearer could have ?
Trainee : He helps patients lie correctly on the stretcher while keeping in mind their health condition. If necessary, he can move or carry them.
Emergency nurse : Does he only handle stretchers ?
Trainee : Not only. From what I saw, he also moves patients in their wheelchair, wheel-bed or stretcher trolley. He is also in charge of hospital material, and therefore takes care of devices, equipment and vehicles that he uses. Moreover, when he transports a patient from one service to another, he is in charge of the patient’s record and personal belongings. But transport put aside, can he give medical support ?
Emergency nurse : Yes. He has to know how to perform first aid and medical assistance if need be. He is also responsible for transmitting lab tests and results inside the wards. And has to update and save all data concerning the patient, especially those in relation to a given medical unit.
Trainee : Is there any theoretical or practical training that gives a degree to become a stretcher-bearer ?
Emergency nurse : No specific degree is required but stretcher-bearers should hold a certification for heavy-lifting as well as an AFGSU1 (attestation de formation aux gestes et soins d’urgence de niveau 1). His job is cross-functional and requires a lot of adaptation skills, professionalism and a sense of human contact, as well as serious and confirmed field experience.
Stretcher-bearer : brancardier
Work shift : poste de travail
Ambulance driver : ambulancier
Hospital wards : services hospitaliers
Patient identity monitoring : identitovigilance
Wheelchair : fauteuil roulant
Stretcher trolley : brancard
Medical device : dispositif médical
The stretcher-bearer is in charge of transporting patients inside care units.
→ Le brancardier est responsable du transport de patients dans les services.
He is responsible for the patient’s record and personal belongings.
→ Il est responsable du dossier patient et des effets personnels de ce dernier.
He reassures patients and watches over their safety.
→ Il rassure les patients et veille sur leur sécurité.
He works closely with the care and medical teams.
→ Il travaille en étroite collaboration avec les équipes de soins.
He moves patients in their wheelchair, wheel-bed or stretcher trolley.
→ Il déplace les patients qui sont dans un fauteuil roulant, un lit ou un brancard.
The stretcher-bearer’s job is cross-functional and requires various skills and a sense of human contact.
→ Le métier de brancardier est transversal et demande diverses compétences et le sens du contact.