Ward clerks are professionals who perform clerical work at the nurse's station or unit of a hospital, nursing home or clinic, according to StateUniversity.com. Their other names include ward secretaries, floor clerks or unit assistants. They allow nurses to have more time for caring for patients. A ward clerk must meet several skills and responsibilities requirements to do his job effectively.
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Ward clerks complete most of a nursing unit's paperwork. This includes setting up records for new patients and maintaining patient records, according to the California Occupational Guide. In addition, they serve as receptionists for the ward by answering the phone, directing calls to patients and medical staff and directing visitors to patients' rooms. They additionally take flowers, newspapers or mail to ward patients. Ward clerks also can transcribe physicians' orders from patient records and copy data such as blood pressure, pulse rate and temperature onto patients' medical records. They record patient diagnoses on the correct medical forms and prepare requisition forms for laboratory tests, drugs and supplies as well. In addition, they coordinate the transfer of patients and process patient discharge forms. In some facilities, they actually might transport patients or perform other minor medical assisting tasks that mirror those of nursing assistants.
Ward clerks must be willing to take direction, as they are supervised by a head nurse or charge nurse of the unit. In addition, they should have strong customer service skills, communication skills, keyboarding skills and computer skills and be able to manage files and records well. They also should be aware of hospital procedures and codes to respond to emergencies, and they must have strong physical stamina as well. They should be willing to work well with other nursing unit staff as well.
Ward clerks usually work in hospitals and nursing home facilities, which usually are well-lighted and well-maintained. These professionals might sometimes experience disagreeable odours, sights or unpredictable patient behaviour. They also might be exposed to communicable diseases and infection. Ward clerks typically work 40 hours a week and might be required to work evenings and weekends.
Most ward clerks are required to have a high school diploma or GED. They usually benefit from having completed courses in business subjects, computer skills, science, English, health and mathematics. However, these professionals typically are trained on the job. Gaining hands-on experience by working part-time in a hospital or volunteering also is helpful for preparing ward clerks for their roles. They also can gain training through college ward clerk certificate programs, according to Mohawk College of Applied Arts and Technology. Classes cover topics such as understanding medical terms and diagnoses, communicating in the hospital setting and understanding medical tests/surgical procedures. Formal education makes a ward clerk more competitive in the job market.
The demand for ward clerks is projected to increase as the elderly population grows, sparking a demand for medical services and a need for more ward clerks.
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