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A unit coordinator is a position, typically in a healthcare organization, that is responsible for carrying out various administrative and clerical tasks that require collaboration between various people and departments. Unit coordinators are members of the support staff who help an organization provide services to its customers. They are also referred to as unit clerks, unit secretaries, administrative coordinators, administrative assistants, or medical administration secretaries.
In a healthcare setting for example, a unit coordinator might assist the nursing staff with various non-clinical clerical tasks. He or she could also work with patients, families, visitors, and physicians. These tasks could include maintaining patient charts and records, ordering supplies, scheduling laboratory and imaging tests, and completing admission and discharge forms..
A unit coordinator should have excellent communication and coordination skills. He or she should possess a professional attitude, be a multi-tasker with the ability to prioritize work, be reliable and dependent, and be able to follow instructions and procedures. In healthcare organizations in particular, he or she must be familiar with various medical terms since he or she may be required to copy and compile information from patient charges and respond to physician and nurse orders.
Unit coordinators in healthcare mostly work in hospitals, but other employment opportunities are possible. These include physicians’ offices and practices, nursing homes, public health agencies, home health agencies, and government agencies. Working conditions may vary greatly, but the majority of people in this profession work 40 hours per week, with rotating shifts including weekends and nights.
The minimum requirement for a unit coordinator usually includes a high school diploma or its equivalent, even though most organizations prefer to hire individuals who have some higher level of education. Students interested in healthcare settings should take courses in English, science, computer skills, secretarial skills, and medical terminology. Some colleges have developed special programs and formal training specific for this vocation. These programs focus on the aforementioned skills, plus hospital management and organization, and legal and ethical duties. Most organizations also provide on the job training to allow coordinators to further develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities.
In the United States, health unit coordinators may seek certification from the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC). For every three years of certification, the association requires 36 hours of continuing education. Certification allows the unit coordinator to work in any healthcare organization.