What Does a Patient Sitter Do?

A patient sitter is a member of the hospital staff who is responsible for monitoring the behavior and habits of a specific patient while they are in the hospital or medical center. He or she will work under the supervision of nursing staff and will provide patient status updates and reports. If the patient is a flight risk or a danger to himself or others in the hospital, a sitter is usually recommended. Other circumstances may necessitate the use of a sitter, particularly if the patient requires a great deal of attention and care due to a medical condition.

A patient sitter may or may not be a certified or registered nurse, but he or she will usually have some combination of education and training that qualifies him or her for the job. Even with this education, the patient sitter will undergo some job training to ensure he or she is prepared for the daily duties as well as any emergency situations that may arise during the course of a shift.

A patient sitter’s responsibilities may include transporting patients throughout the hospital, assisting with medication administration, attending to the patient’s various needs, bathing or otherwise grooming the patient, and even dressing the patient. The patient sitter is responsible for notifying the appropriate medical professionals if the patient becomes upset or begins acting in a manner that may pose a risk to himself or others, and for changing the linens on the hospital bed or helping feed the patient at meal times. The sitter will almost certainly be trained in basic safety techniques, as well as basic restraints in some cases.

Being a patient sitter necessitates a great deal of patience and comprehension. Some patients may become confused, irritable, or unhappy, causing them to say or do things that could be considered aggressive. The sitter must maintain self-control and refrain from arguing with the patient, engaging in any behaviors that may agitate the patient further, or engaging in any unprofessional behavior that could escalate the situation. Sitters are not allowed to leave the room until they are relieved from duty, even if family members come to visit the patient while they are on duty. If a doctor is present, the sitter may be able to leave the room, but only for a short time.