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Hospital Unit Clerk Duties and Responsibilities

Hospital unit clerks perform varied daily job tasks based on the patient load and physician orders that come into their unit. However, these core duties are essentially the same in all hospital environments:

Maintain Files and Logs Hospital unit clerks organize and maintain patient files and must be able to quickly access these files to add notes or fulfill orders.They alsoadd documentation to unit, phone, mail, and other logs as needed.

Perform Clerical Duties Hospital unit clerks perform clerical duties such as making copies and faxing documents. They also greet visitors, answer incoming calls, and route callers to the right department or patient room.

Answer Patient Questions Hospital unit clerks answer questions from patients and visitors regarding test schedules and medical care.

Stock and Manage Supplies Hospital unit clerks help stock linens, IV trays, and other unit supplies. When stock runs low, hospital unit clerks order new supplies as needed.

Transcribe Orders Hospital unit clerks transcribe handwritten medical orders from physicians, nurses, and other hospital staff into the computer system.

Schedule Labs and Tests Hospital unit clerks schedule lab work, tests, and X-rays per physician orders.


Hospital Unit Clerk Skills and Qualifications

Hospital unit clerks use multitasking skills to perform many clerical and administrative duties that are urgent, including fulfilling physician orders and scheduling tests. Hospitals look for potential hospital unit clerks who have the following essential skills:
  • Customer service - hospital unit clerks greet people over the phone and in person, so hospitals prefer professionals who have customer service skills
  • Data entry - transcription duties are an essential part of the hospital unit clerk's job, which requires routine data entry
  • Time management - hospital unit clerks use time-management skills to work quickly and efficiently and to prioritize job tasks
  • Computer skills - because many hospital records are maintained online, hospital unit clerks need strong computer skills
  • Communication skills - good communication is essential for hospital unit clerks, who receive verbal and written orders from physicians, direct visitors, and respond to patient questions
  • Organization skills - hospital unit clerks need excellent organization skills to maintain patient files and manage unit inventory

Hospital Unit Clerk Education and Training

Hospitals require hospital unit clerks to have a high school diploma or a GED in order to obtain this job. No further training or education is needed, but many hospitals require hospital unit clerks to have existing CPR certification or to obtain CPR certification within three months of employment. The American Red Cross, American Heart Association, and many other government facilities provide training that includes CPR certification. On-the-job training is provided to hospital unit clerks, as this is an entry-level job in most hospitals. This paid training period varies by hospital and can last for several weeks. During training, hospital unit clerks work with a more experienced clerk to learn how to manage the unit's daily operations.

Hospital Unit Clerk Salary and Outlook

Information clerks earn $33,680 in annual income, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Like hospital unit clerks, information clerks perform clerical tasks such as maintaining records and answering information queries. According to PayScale, the median hourly income for hospital unit clerks is $13.94. The number of jobs in this field is projected to increase 3 percent by 2026, a rate that is slower than the national average. Full-time hospital unit clerks receive full medical coverage that includes dental, vision, and health insurance. Paid vacation and sick days are standard perks provided by most hospitals.

Helpful Resources

Learn more about the techniques and strategies needed to become a hospital unit clerk with these resources:

Health Unit Coordinator: 21st Century Professional - read this book to learn more about the responsibilities and duties carried out by hospital unit clerks and find out more about the basic skills required to succeed in this role

National Association of Health Unit Coordinators - NAHUC provides information about events, certification programs, conference dates, and education resources specific to hospital

unit coordinators

Health Unit Coordinating - this book has text and examples to outline the skills needed to work as a hospital unit clerk, including using electronic medical records. The book contains photos and illustrations to back up the text

American Hospital Association - find career resources, education tools, event dates, and news updates at this website designed for all hospital workers

Being a Health Unit Coordinator - all topics essential to being a hospital unit clerk are covered in this book, including medical information, therapeutic orders, and other job basics

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