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How to Become a Hospital Ward Clerk

Research the requirements to become a hospital ward clerk. Learn about the job description and duties, and see the step-by-step process to start a career as a hospital ward clerk. View article »

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  • 0:04 Become a Hospital Ward Clerk
  • 0:34 Career Requirements
  • 1:20 Career Steps

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Video Transcript

Become a Hospital Ward Clerk

Hospital ward clerks perform administrative duties within a hospital setting. Their job duties are similar to those performed by receptionists and might include answering phones or retrieving and filing patients' medical records. These clerks may need to be empathetic and tactful when dealing with patients who might be nervous or upset. Many hours may be spent seated or standing, and a significant amount of time at the computer is common.

Career Requirements

Education Required High school diploma and on-the-job training; postsecondary education could be beneficial, especially for those interested in advancement
Degree Field Technical, medical, and administrative areas
Experience Entry-level; many clerks receive on-the-job training
Key Skills Customer-service, speaking, listening, critical thinking and time management skills; ability to use database user interface and accounting software programs as well as Microsoft Office suite programs; knowledge of registration, scheduling, and admission practices
Salary (2015 $29,580 (Mean annual salary for all office clerks)

Sources: Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014), O*Net Online.

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Career Steps

Now, let's check out the career steps for hospital ward clerks.

Step 1: Complete Postsecondary Training

Although a high school diploma or the equivalent may meet the minimum education required to work as a hospital ward clerk, obtaining a postsecondary education can be beneficial. Certificate and associate's degree programs are available in related areas, such as health unit coordination. These programs might cover topics like patient admission and discharge, medical records maintenance, anatomy, physiology, transcription, medical terminology, and hospital safety guidelines. Some programs include clinical training in addition to lectures.

Step 2: Work as a Hospital Ward Clerk

Hospital ward clerks work in a specific division of a hospital. They might receive and direct visitors, transcribe medical orders, schedule appointments and procedures, transfer patients to other wards, and discharge patients. They also might be responsible for medical record-keeping as well as the ward's sanitation and safety. Once hired, clerks typically receive some form of on-the-job training, where they learn procedures related specifically to the hospital.

Step 3: Get Professional Certification

The National Association of Health Unit Coordinators, Inc. offers the Certified Health Unit Coordinator credential. This certification, which requires passing an exam, demonstrates professional growth in the field. Questions on the exam cover four main areas: equipment and technical procedures, professional development, health unit coordination, and transcription. The credential must be renewed every three years by passing an exam.

Step 4: Consider Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA)

Becoming a CNA can increase the marketability of a hospital ward clerk by demonstrating his or her familiarity in a hospital environment. Although each state establishes separate certification requirements, CNAs generally must have some postsecondary training and pass an exam.

To recap, with a high school diploma, some postsecondary education, and on-the-job training, a hospital ward clerk can earn about $30,000 a year to receive and direct visitors, transcribe medical orders, schedule appointments and procedures, transfer patients to other wards, and discharge patients.

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