The unit secretary is responsible for coordinating non-clinical activities on a nursing unit. These duties include processing physician orders and managing communications among the nursing staff, physicians, visitors, patients, and ancillary departments. The unit secretary is also the first point of contact for anyone entering the department looking for patients or staff members, so they must present a professional demeanor at all times.
A unit secretary must transcribe physician orders accurately and in a timely fashion, and they notify the appropriate staff members of stat orders. They also follow through on completion of all forms, requisitions, and orders required to complete a physician's order; they accomplish this by accurately and completely entering physician orders into the computer.
The unit secretary must be proficient in the use of communication equipment, such as telephones, fax machines, computers, and the nurse "call bell" system. They answer the phones promptly and politely and using age-appropriate communication when speaking to patients and family members; they also help patients find answers to their questions by directing them to the appropriate source.
The unit secretary also maintains patient charts, ensuring they're kept in the proper order and are labeled appropriately. They confirm that the charts have been completed and follow up with necessary staff to complete them as needed. They also ensure that the nursing station is clean and organized and that necessary supplies, such as pens, paper clips, and printer paper are available; they re-order supplies as needed. Unit secretaries also assist in orienting and training new unit secretaries and may be required to assist on other units to help fill staffing shortfall. At all times, they must maintain patient confidentiality in accordance with hospital and HIPAA regulations.
Unit Secretary Tasks
- Perform administrative and paperwork tasks like admitting patients, requisitioning supplies, and entering orders.
- Answer telephones, relay messages, and communicate with patients and physicians.
- Act as first contact, communications hub, and receptionist for a medical unit.