A ward clerk provides clerical support for a hospital ward or nursing unit. His duties typically range from handling patient records to answering phones. In most cases, a person who wants to become a ward clerk doesn’t need any special education beyond high school, as employers usually provide on-the-job training to their new hires. Clerical work experience, computer skills, and experience in a hospital environment may boost a person’s chances of getting hired for this job.
People who work as ward clerks have an important job to do in a hospital. They provide critical clerical help to a nursing unit, allowing nurses to have more time to spend caring for patients. Sometimes referred to as a floor secretary, a person in this position handles paperwork, creates new patient records, adds new information to records, and prepares medical test, drug, and supply forms. When a patient needs to be transferred to another unit or simply to another room, a ward clerk may arrange the transfer. He may also greet patient visitors and deliver mail to hospital patients, answer the unit’s phones, and relay messages to the appropriate recipient.
An individual who wants to become a ward clerk won’t usually need any special education in order to secure a job. In most cases, employers are willing to hire individuals who have earned either high school diplomas or general education development (GED) diplomas. Besides this basic level of education, employers often prefer job candidates who have good computer and typing skills. Knowledge of acceptable office practices is typically required as well. Since a ward clerk will have to interact with medical staff, patients, and hospital visitors, he is usually expected to have good communication skills and understand telephone etiquette as well.
Most people who do this job receive on-the-job training from the employer. An individual may also gain experience in an office-related position or by taking classes at a community college or vocational school. For example, he may take typing classes to improve his typing accuracy and speed or take courses in medical terminology. Volunteering in a hospital may also provide a person in this field with valuable experience in a health care environment.
Typically, a person who decides to become a ward clerk doesn’t have many chances for advancement. Some, however, go on to seek further training in order to pursue other health-related careers. For example, a person may work in this field while taking classes necessary to become a medical records clerk or a nurse.