As a Unit Coordinator, you will work in a hospital or office setting assisting nursing staff with non-clinical clerical tasks. You need strong verbal and written communication skills since you function as the link between departments, physicians, nursing staff, patients, and visitors to ensure smooth delivery of services.
Description of health care career information and the daily work:
In this kind of health care career, you will perform a variety of important tasks for patients, families, visitors, and healthcare providers. Those tasks can range from maintaining patient charts and scheduling diagnostic tests, to ordering supplies and transcribing doctor’s orders. As a highly visible member of the nursing unit, you will be greeting new patients and giving directions and information to visitors. This job position may also be called different names depending on the healthcare institution. Other names for this position may include Administrative Associate/Assistant, Administrative Coordinator, Facilitator, Medical Administration Secretary, and Unit Secretary.
The Unit Coordinator supports the smooth operation of the unit and is counted on to be dependable, mature, service oriented, and to have the ability to work with a wide variety of people in a busy environment. This necessitates having strong coordination skills and being able to prioritize the work. You must also be able to handle many tasks at once as the work environment is often fast-paced with many activities in progress at any given time. In some settings, you may also be responsible for ensuring the regular maintenance of equipment and inventory.
You will need a working knowledge of medical terminology as you are responsible for copying and compiling information from patients’ charges, scheduling tests and appointments for patients, and responding to emergencies under the direction of nurses and physicians.
Most Unit Coordinators work in hospitals. Others may be employed in physicians’ offices, nursing homes, medical clinics, or other areas where medical-clerical employees are needed. Unit Coordinators usually work a 40-hour week, often on rotating shifts involving weekends and nights. With expanding medical technology, the job outlook for qualified employees is very good.
Education Requirements, Licensure/Certification:
Although Unit Coordinators can receive on-the-job training, many health care employers prefer to hire those who have experience dealing with the public, know medical terminology, have worked in a fast-paced environment, and have had clerical experience in a healthcare setting. While most employers require at least a high school diploma or GED, they often prefer to hire someone with a higher level of education. High school students interested in this field should take English, science, math, and secretarial courses. Some community colleges and skills training programs offer formal training where you learn clerical skills, medical terminology, hospital organization, legal and ethical responsibilities, transcription of doctors’ orders, computer operation, and other relevant courses.
Certification is voluntary. The National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC) offers a certification examination. Certification allows the person to work anywhere in the US as a Health Unit Coordinator. Thirty-six continuing education hours are required every three years for recertification.
Career Path and/or Opportunities for Growth:
Unit Coordinator positions are good roles to help introduce you to many other health care careers. You may want to move up the administrative ladder, and you may also decide that direct patient care or working in a technical healthcare position is attractive.
National Association of Health Unit Coordinators