A high school graduate or a person with the equivalent of a GED in the United States can be a hospital unit secretary. This position is important for the hospital unit to operate smoothly. Doing this work is equivalent to any clerical or secretarial role. The hospital unit secretary answers the telephone, enters patient information inside the computer, operates the fax machine, photocopier, and communicates with the patient’s family and visitors.
The hospital unit needs a secretary to entertain all incoming patients who are admitted and will be discharged. Good communication skills are a must since the candidate will socialize with all levels of workers and all kinds of people. Knowledge of medical terms used on a regular basis in a hospital unit will also benefit the candidate.
The hospital unit secretary also orders supplies to make sure that the patient’s needs are always in stock. A physician’s written orders can be entered into a computer. Understanding a physician’s handwriting can be challenging for a hospital unit secretary. Since the computer will always be used for work, the candidate who is literate in using the computer programs has an edge over the others. Talking to physicians, nurses, and the rest of the hospital unit personnel is a daily occurrence that the hospital unit secretary will deal with. Depending on the size of the hospital, the candidate will do multi-tasking to finish more tasks daily.
Handling Patient’s Files
When a patient is admitted and discharged, the hospital unit secretary takes care of the patient records. The charts are organized and entrusted to the candidate for safekeeping. Filing of all the medical tests is also part of the work. Depending on the needs and policies of the hospital unit, the secretary can work part-time, full-time or as needed. Being knowledgeable of common medical abbreviations while handling medical orders can help the hospital unit secretary. It is important for the candidate to be attentive to medical instructions as a patient’s medical condition is dealt with.
At The Nurse’s Station
Since a hospital unit secretary is in the healthcare field, the candidate must be prepared to work on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays. This position seems to be the most important in a hospital unit. All patients and their visitors pass through this candidate before entering the patient’s room. The healthcare field is lucrative since there will always be patients to cure. The benefits that can be received in this work are also the standard medical, dental, paid holiday, vacation, and 401 (k). The nurses’ station becomes the permanent cubicle of the hospital unit secretary. When the patient’s light is turned on at the nurses’ station, the candidate can respond immediately.
A hospital unit secretary finds it advantageous to have strong typing skills. Entering information into the computer becomes more efficient and production output increases. Being computer-savvy reaps benefits for the candidate since most of the work is done on the computer. This is a slow-paced and very laid-back work that is suitable for candidates who love to take it one step at a time. Being in this kind of workplace allows the hospital unit secretary to be exposed to the culture of physicians, nurses, and the rest of the unit personnel. Being able to finish work by the deadline is necessary since the files of patients are endless. Incoming and outgoing documents are always prepared.
Depending on the kind of hospital unit that the secretary is assigned to, the candidate can be knowledgeable of common medical language used even without a medical background. A candidate with a good attitude who is willing to be taught how to handle everything from communicating with the patient’s visitors to documentation has high odds of succeeding. When the patient has emergency, the hospital unit secretary must be able to respond immediately and know how to handle the situation. When the work is done for the emergency room or intensive care unit, the candidate must be highly reliable. A minor error in doing the work especially for these sensitive units can cause medical trouble.
A hospital unit secretary will always be needed regardless of the department. There will always be opportunities available for people who want to be in this position. Doing the work improves the medical knowledge of the candidate who does not possess a good deal of medical experience. It is important for the hospital unit secretary to be familiar with common medical language as the work duration becomes longer. Certainly, having the willingness to learn about these medical terms that are used regularly in the hospital unit will become commonplace for the hospital unit secretary.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/