What might I expect during a unit clerk interview?

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    I have an interview coming up in a week and am looking for any info about what to expect. This will be my first "medical field" interview. I don't have any hospital background other than some clinical experience from nursing school. I've been an EMT for 8 years which I'm sure will come in to play at some point. The position is in the emergency room of a hospital that has about 50 beds. Thanks in advance.
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    Hi. I really can't tell you what to expect during the interview because all hiring managers have different interview techniques but I can tell you some tips that may get your pluses on your interview. Since you have been an EMT, highlight that you have advanced phlebotomy skills, know how to do an EKG, knowledgeable in medical terminology, work well under pressure in high stressed situations, and would be willing to be flexible to be on the floor as a Tech/PCA when needed. in an ER, the clerks and techs need to be able to think fast on their feet, am detail oriented, and any advanced skills are always welcomed. Also, say that you are studying to be a RN, so that they know the buck doesn't stop here, you have ambition for yourself.

    I used to be a Unit Secretary and on my prior floor(s), the clerks didn't just sit at the desk. We had to do our job plus that of the PCA if they were behind. When my Nurse Managers interviewed me, I told them of my prior experience and skill sets. They both asked how did I function in fast paced areas, was I able to function independently, what other skills that I possessed that could be useful on the floor, would I be willing to work flexible shifts, how was my medical terminology, am I a people person, CPR certification... that's all I can think of off the top of my head. In a medical environment, prior experience will get you in the door faster than no experience at all. Good luck and best wishes.
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    TeeRN2Be, thank you for your quick response. You have pointed out several great pointers. The one thing I don't want to do is to "sit at a desk". I'd love to be up and around learning and helping out whenever needed but still making sure my work gets done and done correctly.
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    I worked as a unit clerk for a tele floor, and just wanted to let you know, that we were not allowed to touch pts. It was very much a desk job. I am a medical assistant, and know how to do a lot of the things you mention, but it was a scope of practice issue. I helped do boosts, get pts water ect when the other techs were busy, but mostly just did paper work/answered phones. Make sure you ask at your interview, what would be expected/allowed because I would not want you to get into a job you hated!!
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    I took a test during my interview...med term stuff...abbreviations stuff as well...I was a prn unit clerk..worked on every floor and carried a beeper...all in all its mostly a desk job....filing charts, computer order entry, no pt contact..but working on the floor helped me make the decision to be a nurse..
    kermit27908 likes this.
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    I'm on my 9th year as a unit clerk in the ER and I have to say it has been a great way to learn and see so much! One issue though is that it is very much a desk job first and a way to learn second--at least where I work. It's a great job to gain familiarity of the workings of a hospital and I have always thought that working as support staff will make me a better nurse. After all of the paperwork and other mundane "desk duties" are done, I have been able to shadow nurses in a variety of situations. We are not allowed to touch patients because as unlicensed staff we are not covered by the hospital in any way, but it's still a great opportunity to learn.
    I really think the main points that are addressed during the interview were already mentioned but after training a few clerks I can say that our unit values people with communication skills, patience, the ability to multitask and a willingness to learn.
    Last edit by schreibere on Jan 5, '09
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    Quote from avahnel
    I worked as a unit clerk for a tele floor, and just wanted to let you know, that we were not allowed to touch pts. It was very much a desk job. I am a medical assistant, and know how to do a lot of the things you mention, but it was a scope of practice issue. I helped do boosts, get pts water ect when the other techs were busy, but mostly just did paper work/answered phones. Make sure you ask at your interview, what would be expected/allowed because I would not want you to get into a job you hated!!
    I was wondering if it was just my hospital, but the unit clerks don't have patient contact beyond answering the call bell system.

    I'm wondering if the OP wouldn't be better satisfied with a tech position??
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    This goes to show that every hospital setting is different. At most hospitals in my area it is not uncommom for the Unit Clerk to learn not only their job, but also the job of the tech/cna, phlebotomist, ekg technician and monitor technician. However when I floated at other hospitals, it was as the OP said, most clerks sit and the desk, answer the phones, transcribe orders and file.

    If it matters any, I am not licensed by the state but had a medical background as a medical assistant; maybe that's why I was allowed to do such tasks... but then again, the hospitals where I did all of these things at did not (at the time) require their techs to be licensed, you only had to have experience, licensure was a plus.

    Hope that helps some more.
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    Kermit-

    Another thing I just thought of. I don't know if it's the same in all areas but here if you have had one semster of clinicals, you can apply to be a nurse tech.. I'm not for sure if you were applying for the clerk job to have more down time (don't get me wrong, it's not always alot of downtime but depending on what shift you work, it could be to your advantage to have more time to study if the Nurse Manager allows) or get more medical experience but if it's the latter, that may be another avenue you can check on. :wink2:


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