Do you enjoy performing administrative tasks and have a keen eye for detail?
If so, a job as a unit secretary could be perfect for you. This job usually involves working in the office of a hospital or other type of healthcare facility.
A large part of this role focuses on managing patient information and scheduling their appointments for them. This role can also include a wide range of specialist tasks that you will need to perform accurately.
To find out if this could be the right role for you, check out my in-depth…
Unit Secretary Job Description
The job description will probably begin by explaining the setting the job would take place in. This could range from a clinic to a community health center or even a surgical center. It should give an overview of the working environment, including the type of patients you would interact with.
The type of contract and base salary should also be made clear in the job description. It should cover the duties and tasks you will need to take care of regularly. There should also be information on the education and specialist skills that candidates need to have to do this job.
Duties And Responsibilities
The daily tasks that you will be charged with will mainly depend on where you work. However, several core tasks go hand in hand with this role. Here are the main duties and responsibilities that you need to be able to perform well to do this job.
Performing Receptionist Tasks
This is one of the most important tasks of this job. You will regularly greet patients and their families and answer the phone. Other receptionist tasks include handling interoffice mail, sending faxes, making copies, and ordering supplies.
Managing Patient Appointments
When new patients arrive, you will need to check them into the correct hospital unit. You will need to review insurance documents, gather patient information, review patient paperwork, and enter their details into a computer system. You will also handle patient transfers and discharges and schedule new and follow-up appointments.
Maintaining Patient Records
It is important to make sure that patient records are up to date and accurate at all times. This will include entering data into the computer system, updating records, and retrieving information on request. You also need to manually enter doctor notes and files records into the computer system.
Processing Patient Orders
You need to be able to accurately coordinate patient tests with other departments and handle their orders. This includes blood tests, imaging, X-rays, and other types of procedures. You will also process patient record requests and referrals from other departments.
Skills And Attributes
You need to have a basic knowledge of medical terms and systems to do this job. There is also a range of soft skills that will help you perform your tasks well. Here are the key skills and attributes that a successful unit secretary should develop.
Customer service skills
You need to be courteous with patients at all times. Answer their questions and smoothly handle any issues they may have. You need to make patients feel welcome and guide them through the details of their visit.
It is important to be able to explain complex medical information clearly. You also need to be able to create clear and detailed details and other types of communication.
You need to be able to use a wide range of different types of office equipment. Know how to use an intercom, scanner, and fax machine as part of this job. You also need to be able to operate photocopiers and filing systems.
You are likely to have to use special accounting software as part of this job. You also need to be able to access medical databases and word processing skills. Having string typing skills will help you do this job more effectively.
Knowledge of medical terminology
You will work closely with medical personnel while doing this job. It is important to have a working knowledge of the main medical procedures and terms.
You need to be able to work on several different files at the same time. Therefore, you will need to be able to stop what you are doing to interact with new patients; for example, when answering the phone, you will need to put the caller on hold while scheduling their appointment.
It is essential to keep all patient information properly organized and strictly confidential. You must be able to use different types of organizational strategies to keep information safe. This can include designing special filing systems for patient records.
The Working Environment
This job usually takes place in a fast-paced environment, and you need to be able to multitask. You will report directly to office managers, nurses, physicians, and other types of medical personnel. You will also be interacting with patients regularly.
Most unit secretaries work full-time, although it is possible to work part-time in some cases. You need to be prepared to work a range of different shift patterns to cater to the needs of patients. This can include taking on shifts late at night, on weekends, and during public holidays.
Education And Training
This job is typically open to entry-level candidates who have a high school diploma or GED. Gaining a degree and certification can help increase your chances of gaining a job. After you have gained a little work experience, you can gain a degree to take your career to the next level.
If you are serious about this career, it is a good idea to gain certification from a community college. Certification programs usually take a year to complete, although you can complete them at your own pace. This allows you to take on a part-time job while getting certified.
Some of the topics covered include:
- Office procedures
- Hospital procedures
- Record management
- Software applications used in medical offices
- Customer relations
- Medical termination
Some certifications cover a wide range of administrative tasks. The Professional Administrative Certificate of Excellence from the American Society of Administrative Professionals is a good option. Alternatively, you could work for a Certified Professional Secretary or a Certified Administrative Professional certification.
Health Unit Coordinator Certification
This special certification can be gained through the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators. This special certification can significantly boost your earning potential. You need to already be working as a health unit secretary to gain this certification and complete a health unit coordinator program.
Gaining a bachelor’s degree in medical office administration will help set you apart from the competition. This degree will also help you secure an advanced position after you have gained some work experience. It usually takes two years to complete this degree, and certification program credit counts toward it.
Improve Your Administrative Skills
There is always room for improvement in any job you do. So, why not take a look at these insightful handbooks such as the Administrative Assistant’s and Secretary’s Handbook, or The Definitive Executive Assistant and Managerial Handbook: The Professional Guide to Leadership for all PAs, Senior Secretaries, Office Managers & Executive Assistants, and the Administrative Assistant: The Training Course, as well as The Leader Assistant: Four Pillars of a Confident, Game-Changing Assistant, and The Definitive Personal Assistant And Secretarial Handbook: Best Practice Guide for All Secretaries, PAs, Office Managers & Executive Assistants available in 2023.
Secretaries need to be organized at all times, so why not try using the Secretary Meeting Minutes Book: Meeting Minutes Notebook | Secretary Logbook Journal |Meeting Log | Business Minute Record Book Paperback, the Secretary’s Record Book, the Paperage Lined Journal Notebook, Hard Cover and the to keep on top of things.
Or for a silly giggle, we’ve got the What Receptionists Really Want to Say But Can’t: Swear Word Coloring Book for Adults with Secretary Related Cussing.
Stronger customer service skills…
Next, you need to have confidence when dealing with difficult patients; we recommend reading up on The Confidence Gap: A Guide to Overcoming Fear and Self-Doubt, and The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance, or what about The Self Confidence Workbook, or the Unstoppable Self Confidence, as well as Self-Confidence Strategies for Women, and finally the You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life also available online today.
But if it’s more self-esteem that you want to boost, then try the Unfu*k Yourself: Get Out of Your Head and into Your Life, or Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and of course, the Self-Esteem: A Proven Program of Cognitive Techniques for Assessing, Improving, and Maintaining Your Self-Esteem, or Get Out of Your Head, and lastly, the Get Out of Your Own Way: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior.
A unit secretary position is a great way to gain work experience and start on your career path. The typical starting salary for this role is around $24,000 per year. But this could easily increase to $35,000 after a few years.
Gaining a degree and certification is a good way to boost your earning potential. Once you have gained certification, you can expect to earn up to $50,000 per year.
It will also give you access to other jobs that will give you more responsibility and a higher salary.
All the very best working as a Unit Secretary!