Unit Secretary: Background Information About the Job... and some questions.


Hey fellow Nurses/Pre-Nursing Students/Nursing students!

I am new so please, don't sue me.

Just Kidding.

So I am a Pre-Nursing student who just got news that I will be interviewed for a job as a Unit Secretary at my local hospital. :yes:

Background about me: Other than being a pre-nursing student, I have also taken a Certificate class to certify me as a Medical Administrative Assistant, which allows me to work in Clinics or Hospitals as a Clerical/Administrative support faculty member.

So I ask what does a Unit Secretary at a Hospital do? Other than scheduling, answering phone calls and doing receptionist-type duties?

And if there is there a dress code at hospitals when one is a Unit Secretary/Concierge?

Share any experiences you had as a Unit Secretary or Concierge. It would help me a great deal :)

Specializes in Public Health. Has 4 years experience.

I just graduated and I also work in a hospital as a unit coordinator/ CNA.

Basically, I manage the admissions and discharges, put together charts, put in orders, keep the nurses station orderly, answer call lights, answer phones and page MDs for the RNs.

It's pretty easy but I get sent home early a lot bc of low census. Sometimes I can read and study. The best part is the exposure to the inner workings of each unit.

Specializes in Med/Surg. Has 7 years experience.

I have been a unit clerk for about 15 years. No one wanted that job when I 1st started LOL! They called the unit clerk spot the "hot seat". It's not a position for the weak, meek and mild. You had to be tough and be able to work under extremely busy conditions. Day shift would get most of the routine orders from the doctors doing their rounds and consults. The evening and night shifts would see the majority of the admits from post op and ER. At any given time you can have a family member in your face complaining about the patient in the bed next to their loved one, a confused patient constantly hitting the button, a doctor yelling at you because they can't find the chart they're looking for, a new nurse or agency nurse who can't find anything, a jammed printer, a disappearing charge nurse, a phone that will not stop ringing because a family of 12 is calling you individually about a patient, and a nurse that has an attitude as a result. And that's on a good day LOL! Luckily I'm tough with a very thick skin. Whatever type of foolishness you brought to my desk you got it right back. It's a tough job in some establishments. I'd be sure to ask how many patients are on that unit and what the baseline census is for that unit. Ask if you're going to be transcribing and entering doctor's orders. That doctor handwriting will make you cross-eyed lol. If it's a med/surg unit, those can be pretty busy. I started out on the worse unit in my current hospital. I lie to you not, nurses would cry when they had to be floated there from another unit LOL! It was horrible. I worked evening shift. Day shift was awful OMG! The day shift unit clerk had a MI at the desk! They begged me to do day shift, but I told them I would only work until they found a replacement for him. It was me and one other unit clerk who were the only ones that could handle that unit. If you have a unit that keeps a census of 25 and higher, then you'll probably be pretty busy.

It really depends on how advanced or how behind the hospital may be. I came along when you still had to transcribe doctors orders and write out the patient MAR's. My 1st hospital job required CNA's to cross train to the unit clerk position. I really didn't want to do it because that was the background I came from and wanted to desperately get away from. My manager told me it would really help me if and when I decided to school for nursing. I'm glad I did. It really did help to have that background. I just finished my 1st semester of nursing school.

However, alot of hospitals are going to electronic charting and ordering. My hospital went to it and now all I really do is answer the phones and call lights. We no longer transcribe orders or enter in labs and xrays. So, a person coming into that position now really wouldn't learn alot. We still put patient charts together, but we hardly put anything in them. I'm sure it won't be long before they do away with them too. The plus side is that you're in the environment that could give you the opportunity to experience nursing in a hospital setting. It's great that I'm not so busy now. I can study and practice my skills with the nurses on duty. A lot of hospitals offer tuition reimbursement and benefits. My hospital pays my tuition. So, hopefully you'll get the position and get some experience and skills practice. Good Luck


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Specializes in Forensic Psych. Has 2 years experience.

I think unit secretary duties vary a lot depending on how digital hospitals have gone.

My hospital is still in the dark ages, so I'm pretty busy. I verify diets, enter orders (the biggest chunk of my job), arrange consults, keep track of the census, build/tear down charts, answer phones, fax med orders to the pharmacy, order supplies and repairs, help out visitors, answer call lights, and field questions and requests from EVERYone all day long. Nurses, doctors, patients, and visitors.