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Nursing unit clerk


Are you up for a truly challenging career in the healthcare field? Consider becoming a Nursing Unit Clerk.

The Nursing Unit Clerk position was created during World War II out of need to relieve nursing staff of the many administrative duties associated with providing patient care. This allowed the nurse more time at the bedside. Nursing Unit Clerks, originally known as ward clerks, act as the anchors of patient care departments. The Nursing Unit Clerk focus is on the non-clinical tasks of the department, and delivering and communicating the physician's orders with the nursing staff and the other departments (laboratory, diagnostic imaging, pharmacy, dietary, and therapies).

Depending on the health care environment, Nursing Unit Clerks may also be referred to as Nursing Unit Coordinators, Nursing Unit Assistants or Health Unit Coordinators.

The Stenberg College Nursing Unit Clerk Diploma Program will provide you all the skills necessary for employment as a Unit Clerk in a British Columbia hospital, including software program training. Our graduates are highly regarded and have found employment throughout the Vancouver Coastal and Fraser Health Regions, as well as within other provincial health authorities.

Keep reading to learn more...

Program Goals

The Stenberg College Nursing Unit Clerk Program prepares graduates to:

1Demonstrate the knowledge base, skills and attitudes consistent with industry expectations for entry level employment as a Nursing Unit Clerk.
2Gain employment in the field within 6 months of graduation.

Typical Job Duties

Most Nursing Unit Clerks work in hospitals, assisting staff by performing a wide range of clerical tasks to ensure the efficient operation of the hospital unit.

The following are examples of some typical job duties:

  • Processing physicians' orders for all patient care, such as medications, activity, parenteral therapy, nutrition, rehabilitation therapy, social work, and home care
  • Preparing charts and expediting pre- and post-operative diagnostic tests
  • Responding to calls and directing resources
  • Gathering, summarizing, and organizing data for a variety of reports
  • Assembling and maintaining patient charts from admission to discharge
  • Receiving and recording telephoned laboratory and diagnostic results, and notifying appropriate medical staff of these results
  • Processing patient orders, requests for examinations, and other ancillary services, such as x-rays, laboratory tests, and transportation
  • Ordering and maintaining office equipment inventory
  • Coordinating patient admissions, transfers, and discharges
  • Maintaining nursing and medication files
  • Word processing, data entry, and using a variety of software applications

The work can be stressful. You'll be expected to juggle a variety of tasks, so you'll need the ability to work under pressure and work with minimal supervision. You should also be able to take initiative, prioritize, and meet deadlines.

Part of your job will require interacting with patients' and visitors. Therefore, you'll need to demonstrate the ability to deal tactfully and professionally with patients, staff, and co-workers. You will also need to maintain confidentiality and communicate effectively both verbally and in writing.

Potential Employers

As a Nursing Unit Clerk, you could find opportunities for employment in a:

  • Hospital
  • Extended, intermediate, or long-term care facility
  • Private surgical clinic

Wages and Career Outlook

Career outlook is steady throughout the health regions in British Columbia. The Nursing Unit Clerk is an integral part of the healthcare team. Skilled Nursing Unit Clerks who meet employment-testing requirements continue to find work in various facilities.

In British Columbia, wages are negotiated by the Hospital Employees Union as outlined in the collective agreement. Based on employment statistics gathered by Stenberg College, the average wage of students who completed the Nursing Unit Clerk program and are working as casual employees in their field of study is $21.40 per hour, plus 12.2 percent in lieu of benefits.

A Nursing Unit Clerk graduating from Stenberg College is qualified for employment in other provinces within Canada. As a graduate, you will also be able to seek a professional designation in the United States as a Certified Health Unit Coordinator. Please see the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators for more details.

The following list shows some other sources for career research. By no means is this a comprehensive list, but it is a place to start:

Is This Program for You?

It is if you:

1Enjoy communicating with others and working as part of a team, where you often have to coordinate your work with many busy professionals
2Are able to assert yourself and manage multiple priorities
3Have an excellent command of English, both spoken and written
4Would enjoy working in an unionized environment following strict job descriptions
5Are comfortable working in a unionized environment following strict job descriptions
6Can handle a stressful job, which is often described as "being in the middle of a storm"
7Like working on computers and are committed to upgrading your skills. You can expect information technology to be a large and growing part of your work
8Have an eye for detail
9Can follow instructions
10Have critical thinking skills

Program Entrance Requirements

  • Completion of Grade 12 or equivalent
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance examination
  • Successful completion of a short written essay
  • Passing Verbal Test of English (if English is a Second Language)
  • Passing Stenberg College entrance interview
  • Certified five minute keyboarding test with a typing speed of 25 gross words per minute or higher with a maximum of 5 errors
  • Completion of a Criminal Record Consent Form under the Criminal Record Review Act

Prior to Program Admission, Program Advisors will outline practice education requirements for the program. Upon enrollment, students will be informed of next steps and timelines. Non-compliance could result in program dismissal. Requirements for practice education placements include:

  • Acceptable Criminal Record Search under the Criminal Record Review Act
  • Proof of Immunity Status as required by industry
  • Acceptable Medical Examination Form completed by a physician

NB: Additional criteria may be required to fulfill industry guidelines; students will be informed in advance of any requirements that need to be fulfilled for placements

    Duration and Financing

    Duration: 40 weeks including a practicum

    Financing: You could be eligible for ELMS funding, government student loans and other financing options; the Stenberg College Financial Aid Officer would be happy to provide further assistance.

    Quick Links:

    Nursing Unit Clerk: Program Learning Outcomes

    Nursing Unit Clerk: Program Courses & Additional Certification

    Nursing Unit Clerk: Top Reasons to Choose Stenberg

    Over 92% of our graduates are working in their field of study within 6 months of graduation

    2014 - 2015 2013 - 2014 2012 - 2013

    Nursing Unit Clerk
    Fraser Health
    Interior Health
    Medical Encyclopedia, Drug Information, Dictionary
    Northern Health
    Online Medical Dictionary
    Provincial Health Services
    Vancouver Coastal Health
    Vancouver Island Health

    "This course changed my life! What great people I had in my class that helped me through my adventure"
    Tammy B.