What does a Ward Clerk do?

Ward clerks work as administrative assistants in hospitals and medical clinics. When patients receive care, he or she is in charge of creating and updating patient files. A ward clerk also answers phones and provides visitors and patients with useful information. The majority of ward clerks receive on-the-job training to learn medical terminology, specialized computer systems, and paperwork procedures. A ward clerk may work day, evening, or overnight shifts on weekdays or weekends, as most hospitals are open 24 hours a day.

Ward clerks are extremely knowledgeable about their hospital or wing’s layout. They keep track of empty examining rooms so that new patients can be quickly transferred to the appropriate areas of the hospital, allowing doctors and nurses to complete their rounds more quickly. Clerks create both paper and electronic patient files processing medical history and insurance forms filled out patients or their guardians upon admission to the hospital.

On specialized forms, nurses and doctors record information about a patient’s symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. A ward clerk enters data into the patient’s file trancribing a completed form. To accurately process patient records, the clerk must understand common medical terminology, abbreviations, and different types of medications. When a patient is discharged, the clerk keeps track of the date and time of discharge and forwards the information to medical billing and coding specialists.

A ward clerk also serves as a receptionist in addition to keeping patient files. He or she takes calls, pages doctors and nurses, and directs visitors to the appropriate patient rooms. In a busy hospital, a clerk is expected to be friendly, helpful, and efficient to help lift spirits and maintain order. Ward clerks are trained in most settings to administer first-aid and check patients’ vital signs in the event that no other medical personnel are available.

In most cases, a high school diploma is required to work as a ward clerk. Some large hospitals prefer to hire new clerks who have worked in a health-care or customer-service setting previously. On-the-job training is provided to new ward clerks experienced nurses and clerks who can explain policies, procedures, and computer programs.

With experience, proven skills, and continued education, ward clerks have plenty of opportunities for advancement. A professional may be promoted to a supervisory position, where he or she will be responsible for supervising other clerks and making critical decisions when problems arise. Many clerks choose to work part-time while attending nursing or medical school to pursue other health-care careers.