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Ward Clerk Job Description, Career as a Ward Clerk, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High school

Salary: $24,320 to $28,167 per year

Employment Outlook: Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Ward clerks perform clerical work at the nurse's station of a hospital or nursing unit. Ward clerks are also referred to as ward, unit, or floor secretaries, assistants, or administrative assistants. Ward clerks are usually supervised by a registered nurse. Their work allows nurses to spend more time on patient care.

Ward clerks do most of the paperwork for their nursing unit. They keep records on the patients and on the ward's hospital staff. They may perform other routine clerical duties. Clerks also act as receptionists for their ward. They answer the telephone and direct visitors to patients' rooms. Sometimes ward clerks also do other jobs, such as ordering supplies or taking mail or flowers to patients.

Education and Training Requirements

Most hospitals require a high school diploma or its equivalent. Courses in mathematics, computer skills, and other business subjects are helpful. Strong customer service skills, basic computer skills, and strong clerical skills, such as managing files and records, are usually required. Volunteer or part-time work in a hospital is also useful experience. Ward clerks are usually trained on the job.

Getting the Job

You can apply directly to the hospital in which you want to work. Check newspaper want ads and job banks on the Internet. State and private employment agencies also list openings for ward clerks.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Advancement is possible with further education and experience. Ward clerks can become ward managers, who are in charge of all non-nursing duties in their Ward clerks perform clerical tasks that include keeping records of patients, answering the telephone, directing visitors to patients' rooms, and ordering supplies. (© Astier Frederik/Sygma/Corbis.) wards. Some ward clerks work part time while training to become licensed practical nurses or are cross-trained as nursing aides.

The employment outlook is good through the year 2010. Hospitals are using more ward clerks to take care of routine tasks so that nurses are free to perform other duties. In addition, increases in the elderly population will likely increase the demand for medical services and the need for additional record keeping. Federal and state regulations may also increase hospital record keeping needs.

Working Conditions

Ward clerks work forty hours a week, often on weekends and at night. They usually work in clean and comfortable surroundings. Ward clerks have contact with patients, visitors, doctors, nurses, and other hospital workers. They should be friendly and enjoy working with people. Ward clerks should also be responsible, efficient workers.

Where to Go for More Information

American Hospital Association
325 7th St. NW
Washington, DC 20004-2802
(202) 638-1100

National Health Council
1730 M St. NW, Ste. 500
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 785-3910

Earnings and Benefits

Salaries vary depending on experience, location, and level of responsibility. In early 2006 ward clerks earned a salary of $24,320 to $28,167. Benefits include paid holidays and vacations, health insurance, and retirement plans.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesHealth & Medicine