Health care unit coordinators are underrated heroes of the health care world. Their work may not be as popularly recognized as that of doctors, nurses, and other medical staff, yet hospitals and health care facilities would not run properly without their expertise.
The role of health unit coordinators is especially critical now that the coronavirus pandemic has caused extra stress to health care systems worldwide, according to a report by the Council on Foreign Relations. So what exactly is a health unit coordinator?
A health care unit coordinator is a professional who provides administrative support and customer service in a health care setting. They are also known as medical secretaries, although they have a wide range of responsibilities that extends way beyond secretarial duties.
Read on to find out more about the job of health unit coordinators and how you can become one yourself.
What are the Duties of a Health Care Unit Coordinator?
A health unit coordinator performs multiple tasks to organize the operations of a hospital or health care facility.
Health care unit coordinators offer administrative support to medical teams in different ways. Common duties of a health care unit coordinator include:
- Keeping track of health care professionals’ schedules.
- Compiling and organize patient charts and medical records.
- Transcribing orders from doctors.
- Ordering supplies on behalf of the health care organization.
- Preparing birth certificates and death certificates.
- Carrying out a variety of clerical tasks.
Health unit coordinators provide customer service support to patients and their families by:
- Welcoming patients to the hospital or health care facility.
- Sharing information with patients.
- Scheduling patient appointments and procedures.
- Preparing admission forms and discharge forms.
- Processing the insurance forms of patients.
- Resolving patient complaints and issues.
How Do You Become a Health Care Unit Coordinator?
It’s an ideal choice for you if you want to become part of the health care industry, yet you prefer an administrative role or customer service role to a position that involves direct patient care. What exactly do you need to do to become a health unit coordinator?
You need proper education to apply as a health care unit coordinator, although the position is not as demanding in terms of educational requirements as other health care jobs. The common minimum educational qualification for the position is a high school degree, although the specific requirements may vary with each employer.
If you want to equip yourself more intensively for the job, you may also enroll in a training course for health care unit coordinators. Training courses, which you may complete in around six months to one year, typically explore subjects such as health records, medical terminology, medical transcription, unit management, and more. Such programs may also involve clinical experience that lets you gain practical skills that are useful for the position.
Training courses can also help you prepare for certification as a health unit coordinator.
If you want to establish yourself as a competent health care unit coordinator, one good way to do so is to achieve professional certification. This certification proves to potential employers that you have the necessary skills and knowledge to capably perform the job.
You can become a Certified Health Unit Coordinator (CHUC) by taking the certification exam by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators (NAHUC). This type of certification is valid for three years and is renewable every three years.
While not all health care unit coordinator positions require professional certification, it will definitely give you an edge over other applicants. It’s worth investing time and effort to seek certification, especially if you are planning on pursuing a long-term career in the health care administration field.
You will have diverse responsibilities as a health care unit coordinator so you need to develop an assortment of skills as well.
You need to sharpen your administrative skills, such as organization, planning, and time management, so you can efficiently carry out your administrative tasks. You should learn new technology skills so that you can properly use the software and gadgets that you need for the job.
You must develop your customer service skills since you will be dealing directly with patients and their families on a regular basis. You also need to hone your communication skills so you can interact smoothly and communicate clearly with patients, health care professionals, and other staff members.
How Much Does a Health Care Unit Coordinator Earn?
Health unit coordinators earn an average of $39,850 per year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Your actual salary will depend as well on your experience, education, skill level, and other factors. Many HUCs find the work fulfilling because it gives them an opportunity to contribute to the smooth operations of their local health care system and to improve the health care experience of patients.
Are you ready to learn more about the health care field in preparation for your future career as a health unit coordinator? Bookmark our Clipboard Academy website so you can conveniently access educational and training resources on health care careers.