Unit Clerk ‘Runs the Show’ in Special Care

John SniffenLa Hacienda, Treatment Team

Unit Clerk Lynda Baker checks Nurse Manning Reed's vital signs.

Photo caption: Unit Clerk Lynda Baker checks Nurse Manning Reed’s vital signs.

Unit Clerk Lynda Baker didn’t know what the job entailed when she applied at La Hacienda in 2002. She just saw the title and imagined it would be like the office work she did for 15 years at the Kerrville State Hospital.

“I thought it was a secretarial position. I did not know anything about La Hacienda or chemical dependency,” she says. “If I had known the details, it would have been the last thing I would have wanted to do.”

Her experience led to a quick hire without a lot of elaboration about the duties from the person then serving as nursing director.

“The first day in the Special Care Unit (SCU) was trial by fire,” recalls Lynda. “I came back the next day, and the director said, ‘Oh, you’re back.’”

Fortunately for La Hacienda, Lynda persisted, fell in love with the place and learned on the job about treating drug addiction and alcoholism.

“You can see the good that we do, especially during the annual reunions when former patients come in and say ‘hello.’ It’s good to know that those men and women can be sober.”

Jacks of All Trades

“She runs the show,” says Nurse Cara Thomas about Lynda during a recent shift.

Unit Clerks are basically “Jacks of all trades.” From their desks are at the front of the nursing office in the SCU, they handle basic but necessary medical, bookkeeping and administrative tasks.

Among other duties, they check and record patients’ vital signs; monitor their whereabouts; prepare paperwork; keep track of patients’ lab schedules; oversee transfers out of the SCU, and order and pickup meals from the main kitchen.

Liking the job and workplace are not the only reasons Lynda has lived in Kerr County since 1979. A Midland native, she appreciates the Hill Country’s beautiful hills, trees and streams.

Lynda and her husband have three sons, seven grandsons and two granddaughters. Her favorite vacations are cruises to the Bahamas, Key West, Belize, Jamaica and other tropical locations.