Becoming a hospital unit clerk is a good way to gain basic health-care industry employment for those who do not wish to become nurses. As many of the skills needed require special training, it is best for those interested to take a hospital unit clerk training course at an accredited institution.
Job Duties and Responsibilities
Unit clerks function as the point people for secretarial, clerical and receptionist duties, and are thus depended upon to perform a wide range of these duties in support of the unit's operations. These include the management and storing of patient information, the assembly of patient charts and the care and maintenance of various supplies. Unit clerks also maintain communication networks between doctors, nurses, administrators, other hospital personnel, patients, family members and so on.
Career Outlook and Advancement
Entering a hospital as a unit clerk is a way to gain a foothold in the field of health-care administration. The hospital unit clerk position may be an entry-level one, but unit clerks can gain considerable experience at handling clerical responsibilities that can benefit them if and when they choose to apply for other positions such as medical records technician or medical secretary. Those who truly excel at being unit clerks may be in the running to become more senior administrators further along in their careers.
Various institutions offer certificate courses in hospital unit clerk training. Some, like Lethbridge College in Alberta, Canada, or NorQuest College in Edmonton, Canada, run programs that last from 16 to 20 weeks, many of which are inclusive of a multi-week practicum. Most of these programs culminate in the conferment of a Hospital Unit Clerk Certificate, Credential for Academic Achievement for Unit Clerk Training or a similar certificate or credential. Other institutions, such as NorQuest College and eCampus Alberta, offer online courses to those who desire to take up unit clerk education at their convenience.
Regardless of the program taken and its means of delivery, hospital unit clerk training teaches students about hospital organization, medical concepts and terminologies. It also aims to build competence at handling medical orders and billing, document organization, unit coordination and other skills vital for the job. Training is also intended to develop the specific abilities necessary for would-be clerks to multitask and develop computer, telecommunications and reception skills.
Most hospital unit clerk education programs require applicants to have attained a particular level of competence at English, mathematics and other courses of study. For instance, NorQuest requires applicants to have minimum grade levels of 60 percent in English 30-1, 65 percent in English 30-2, 50 percent in Applied Math 10, or equivalents. Since unit clerks have a great many clerical and administrative roles, typing skills are a must; many programs require a particular keyboarding speed, such as 20 words per minute at NorQuest. Other requirements include English proficiency for those for whom English is a second language, a clear criminal record check and a clean bill of health.