A Unit Secretary, also known as a Unit Clerk or Patient Care Technician, plays a vital role in the smooth functioning of a healthcare facility. They are responsible for managing administrative tasks and ensuring efficient communication within the healthcare unit they are assigned to.
In this article, we will delve into the duties and responsibilities of a Unit Secretary, the skills and qualifications required for the role, and the potential career growth opportunities in this field.
Whether you are considering a career as a Unit Secretary or simply curious about the role, this article will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to be successful in this position.
Unit Secretary Duties and Responsibilities
The duties and responsibilities of a Unit Secretary can vary depending on the healthcare facility and the specific unit they are assigned to. However, some common duties and responsibilities include:
- Managing patient medical records: This includes maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient information, such as medical history, test results, and treatment plans.
- Scheduling appointments: This includes scheduling appointments for patients, coordinating with healthcare providers, and ensuring that patient schedules are followed.
- Answering phone calls and responding to inquiries: This includes answering phone calls, responding to patient and visitor inquiries, and directing calls to the appropriate staff members.
- Managing communication within the unit: This includes relaying important information between healthcare staff, patients, and their families.
- Maintaining inventory and ordering supplies: This includes maintaining inventory levels and ordering supplies as needed to ensure that the healthcare unit is well-stocked.
- Assisting with patient care: This can include monitoring vital signs, assisting with patient transportation, and performing other duties as needed to support patient care.
- Performs other duties as assigned by the supervisor or the manager.
It’s important to note that the roles and responsibilities of a Unit Secretary may vary depending on the healthcare facility, the unit they are assigned to, and their level of experience and certification.
Unit Secretary Job Requirements
Common requirements for a Unit Secretary include the following:
- High school diploma or equivalent: Most healthcare facilities require a high school diploma or equivalent for a Unit Secretary position.
- Medical terminology knowledge: Unit Secretaries should know medical terminology and anatomy.
- Patient-centered approach: Unit Secretaries should be able to communicate and interact effectively with patients, their families, and healthcare staff.
- Strong organizational skills: Unit Secretaries should be able to manage multiple tasks, meet deadlines, and maintain accurate records.
- Computer skills: Unit Secretaries should be proficient in using computer programs such as Microsoft Office and electronic medical records systems.
- Good communication skills: Unit Secretaries should have good communication skills to interact with patients, families, and staff.
- Ability to work under pressure: Unit Secretaries should be able to work in a fast-paced environment and handle stressful situations.
- Certification: Some healthcare facilities may require certification in healthcare administration or a related field.
Note: these are general requirements, and they may vary depending on the facility, unit, and level of experience required for the job. Some facilities may have additional requirements.
Unit Secretary Skills
A Unit Secretary should possess a combination of both technical and interpersonal skills to excel in their role. Some of the key skills required for a Unit Secretary include the following:
- Medical Terminology: Knowledge of medical terminology and anatomy is essential for understanding and communicating effectively with healthcare staff and patients.
- Strong communication skills: The ability to communicate effectively with patients, families, and healthcare staff is essential for the role of a Unit Secretary.
- Organization and time management: Unit Secretary should be able to manage multiple tasks, meet deadlines, and maintain accurate records.
- Computer literacy: Proficiency in using computer programs such as Microsoft Office and electronic medical records systems is required.
- Interpersonal skills: The ability to interact with patients, families, and healthcare staff professionally and compassionately.
- Attention to detail: Unit Secretary should pay close attention to details to ensure that patient records are accurate and complete.
- Adaptability and flexibility: Unit Secretary should be able to adapt to changes and be able to handle unexpected situations.
- Critical thinking: Unit Secretary should be able to analyze information, solve problems, and make decisions.
- Teamwork: A unit Secretary should be able to work well with others in a team environment.
Unit Secretary Salary
The salary for a Unit Secretary position can vary depending on several factors, such as location, experience, and qualifications.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for Medical Secretaries, which includes Unit Secretaries, is $17.32. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $12.66, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $24.61.
Salary can also vary depending on the location and the type of healthcare facility. Unit Secretaries working in hospitals tend to have a higher salary than those working in nursing homes or clinics. Also, salaries may vary based on the region, with higher salaries typically found in urban areas with a higher cost of living.
Additionally, experience and qualifications also play a role in determining salary. Unit Secretaries with more experience and additional certifications, such as those in healthcare administration, may earn higher salaries.
It’s important to note that these are general salary ranges and can vary depending on the location, experience, and qualifications. Researching the salary range for the specific area and facility you are interested in is recommended.
Unit Secretary Work Environment
A Unit Secretary typically works in a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, clinic, or nursing home. They are assigned to a specific unit within the facility, such as an emergency room, a surgery unit, or an outpatient clinic. The specific unit and facility can affect the work environment of a Unit Secretary.
The work environment for a Unit Secretary can be fast-paced, as they are responsible for managing multiple tasks and ensuring efficient communication within the unit. They may work with patients and families during stressful or emotional situations. They may also be required to work with various healthcare staff, such as doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals.
The work schedule of a Unit Secretary can vary depending on the facility and the specific unit they are assigned to. Some Unit Secretaries work regular business hours, while others work evening, night, or weekend shifts. Overtime and on-call duties may be required.
The work environment can be physically demanding as well, as Unit Secretaries may be required to stand or sit for long periods of time, and may need to lift or move equipment or supplies.
Unit Secretary Trends
The healthcare field is constantly evolving, and the role of a Unit Secretary is no exception. Here are a few of the latest trends and changes that have been impacting the role of a Unit Secretary:
- Increasing use of technology: Electronic medical records (EMR) systems are becoming more prevalent in healthcare facilities. Unit Secretaries are expected to proficiently use these systems to manage patient records and communicate with healthcare staff.
- Increased focus on patient satisfaction: Healthcare facilities emphasize patient satisfaction more, and Unit Secretaries play a key role in ensuring that patients receive high-quality care and are satisfied with their experience.
- Interdisciplinary teams: Unit Secretaries are increasingly working with other healthcare professionals, such as nurses, doctors, and therapists, to care for patients.
- Greater focus on patient safety: Patient safety is a top priority for healthcare facilities, and Unit Secretaries are expected to be aware of the latest patient safety guidelines and protocols.
- Increased specialization: Unit Secretaries are increasingly specialized in a specific area of healthcare, such as pediatrics or geriatrics.
It’s important to note that the healthcare field is constantly evolving, and the trends may change over time, and these trends might also vary based on the location or the type of facility.
How to Become a Unit Secretary
Becoming a Unit Secretary typically requires a high school diploma, equivalent, and on-the-job training. Here are the general steps to becoming one:
- Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent: Most healthcare facilities require a diploma or equivalent for a Unit Secretary position.
- Learn medical terminology: Unit Secretaries should know medical terminology and anatomy.
- Get on-the-job training: Many healthcare facilities provide on-the-job training for Unit Secretaries, which may include learning how to use electronic medical records systems and other specialized software.
- Obtain certification: Some healthcare facilities may require certification in healthcare administration or a related field. Certification can demonstrate to employers that a candidate has the necessary knowledge and skills to perform the job.
- Gain experience: As a Unit Secretary, gaining experience in a healthcare setting will be beneficial. Some facilities may prefer to hire Unit Secretaries with prior experience.
- Stay current with the latest trends and technology: The healthcare field constantly evolves. Unit Secretaries should stay current with the latest trends and technology to succeed in their roles.
Unit Secretary Advancement Prospects
The advancement prospects for a Unit Secretary can vary depending on the healthcare facility and the specific unit they are assigned to. However, here are a few potential career paths for a Unit Secretary:
- Unit Supervisor: Unit Secretaries with significant experience and a proven track record of success may be promoted to a Unit Supervisor position, which involves overseeing other Unit Secretaries’ work and managing a specific unit’s day-to-day operations.
- Healthcare Administrator: Unit Secretaries interested in healthcare administration may pursue a career as a Healthcare Administrator. This role involves managing the operations of a healthcare facility or department and may require additional education or certification.
- Medical Office Manager: Unit Secretaries who have experience with office management, billing and coding, and medical records may consider a career as a Medical Office Manager. They will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of a medical office or clinic.
- Medical Secretary: Unit Secretaries with a strong background in medical terminology and record-keeping may be interested in working as a Medical Secretary, typically in a specialized area such as pediatrics, neurology, or oncology.
- Medical Transcriptionist: Unit Secretaries with excellent typing skills, knowledge of medical terminology, and an eye for detail may be interested in a career as a Medical Transcriptionist, working remotely or in an office, transcribing dictated recordings made by healthcare professionals.
Unit Secretary Job Description Example
Below you will find an example job description for a Unit Secretary position:
Job: Unit Secretary
Position Overview: The Unit Secretary is responsible for providing administrative support to the healthcare unit they are assigned to. They will manage patient records, schedule appointments, and ensure efficient communication within the unit. They will work closely with patients, families, and healthcare staff to ensure that patients receive high-quality care.
- Maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient information, such as medical history, test results, and treatment plans
- Scheduling appointments for patients and coordinating with healthcare providers
- Answering phone calls and responding to patient and visitor inquiries
- Relaying important information between healthcare staff, patients, and their families
- Maintaining inventory levels and ordering supplies as needed
- Assisting with patient care as needed
- Performing other duties as assigned by the supervisor or the manager
- High school diploma or equivalent
- Knowledge of medical terminology and anatomy
- Strong organizational skills and attention to detail
- Good communication skills and ability to work with patients and families
- Computer literacy and proficiency in using electronic medical records systems
- Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and handle stressful situations