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Top 5 Responsibilities of a Unit Clerk

By: Ashley Fazekas

Published On: July 27, 2022

The role of a unit clerk is a very exciting career path, with plenty of variety and range in what area you work in and your daily duties. If you are hoping to gain a more specific understanding of what they actually do every day though, this blog should be some helpful insight. Getting into this career is a fairly direct route, with the first step being registration in a nursing unit clerk program such as the one offered at Ashton College. This is where you will gain the knowledge and training which qualifies you for this important job.  

A unit clerk is one of the first people to greet you in a hospital or medical care unit, sitting at a front desk ready to register patients and perform administrative and clerical duties. As a unit clerk, you could work in hospitals, medical centres, clinics, extended care facilities, rehabilitation centres or psychiatric wards. There are so many options when it comes to the medical environment you could work in. They play a vital role in managing information flow in a hospital no matter what division of the hospital or healthcare clinic they are in; a unit clerk enables the entire team to function smoothly and effectively. Part of this is due to their necessary communication skills with nurses, physicians and other healthcare team members. 

What are the top 5 responsibilities that a unit clerk is accountable for? 

  1. Registering patients. You will be required to enter data for the admission and discharge of patients. When they walk through the doors, they come right to your desk and you are the first point of contact when you greet them. You will get them registered, you may give them a wristband or ticket, and you will direct them to the next steps. This can be a stressful and very busy position, and an excellent unit clerk should remain calm in stressful situations and remember kindness and patience at all times. A successful unit clerk will ensure that the medical unit runs smoothly and that health protocols are adhered to.
  2. Checking and ordering unit supplies and clerical duties. The unit clerk is responsible for making sure supply levels are adequate in their unit, anticipating inventory requirements, placing new orders, and overseeing receipt of the supplies. They also process healthcare bills, prepare staff time sheets, record unit meeting minutes, or update room lists. They are responsible for maintaining a safe and hygienic environment by adhering to infection control regulations. This could slightly vary depending on which unit or area you reside in.
  3. Answering calls. This includes answering incoming phone calls and responding to inquiries, relaying messages, or screening them to redirect the call to the appropriate area. This could include taking down information from the call and inputting it where necessary.
  4. Scheduling patient appointments and inputting data. The unit clerks are responsible for scheduling new appointments for patients for tests and treatment, as well as capturing patients' information and inputting it into the database. This could also include performing back-ups or transferring the patient's medical information and charts from nurses’ records to the patient's medical records. Unit clerks need to keep highly organized to ensure that all records are accurate and kept up to date. High levels of patient confidentiality should be maintained at all times.
  5. Being the main link of communication. You will be communicating with nurses, physicians, and other healthcare workers on-site. Staying organized and being an excellent listener are key skills to ensure this part of the role goes smoothly. Also being comfortable with a wide range of medical terminology and basic pharmacology will allow you to smoothly converse with staff. Along with referring any inquiries to nurses and doctors, unit clerks might interpret and report orders given by the doctor relating to patients' dietary and medication requirements, or they could be given diagnostic, lab and patient testing orders to transcribe or process.


Ashton College’s own Tina Toal, who was a previous unit clerk and supervisor and is now one of our expert instructors in our Unit Clerk course, recently participated in an online info session talking all about the role of a unit clerk. You can watch that here to hear about her insights.  

Unit clerks spend a lot of their workdays interacting frequently with patients and other staff members, and they have a solid routine with many repetitive tasks they hold responsibility for. Being able to prioritize and multi-task are strong skills that you will improve and use in this role. You will also become more confident and comfortable in the healthcare setting, helping ensure things run smoothly in what can be a sometimes hectic and fast-paced environment. By keeping everyone informed and staying organized, unit clerks are an essential and very exciting role. If you are ready to get started on your journey in this career path, sign up for our Unit Clerk Certificate Course today! 



The information contained in this post is considered true and accurate as of the publication date. However, the accuracy of this information may be impacted by changes in circumstances that occur after the time of publication. Ashton College assumes no liability for any error or omissions in the information contained in this post or any other post in our blog. 



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