Ward clerks assist doctors and nurses with their daily routines in hospital wards. Their roles include administrative and client service duties. Integral to the ward’s team, the ward clerk may be seen as a lynch-pin linking staff with each other, to patients and to visitors.
Applicants for this position should have the ability or potential for proficiency in the following aspects of performance:
Personal and professional development. The position is one requiring continuing growth and adjustment to change in the healthcare industry.
Service to healthcare consumers. Communication and interacting skills are needed to liaise with inpatients and outpatients.
Technical skills. Experience with workplace equipment is required for this position. An understanding of healthcare legislation as well as hospital policy and ward procedure is also necessary.
Documentation and administration. The ward clerk is responsible for the administrative and documentary processes related to admissions and discharges. These processes need to be completed accurately and speedily.
Communication and teamwork. A ward clerk is a member of an integrated team and team participation should be consistent with team cohesion.
Commitment to improvement. Hospital staff at all levels need to undertake ongoing quality projects to raise the level of care and services to hospital clients.
Discretion. A ward clerk has access to private, and sometimes sensitive, information and needs to act appropriately in matters of privacy and confidentiality.
Communication skills. Personal interaction as well as written and telephone contacts need to be conducted in a professional manner.
Organizational skills. All hospital clerical staff need to be able to work unsupervised and exercise initiative. They need to be adaptable to changing and fluid situations and have the ability to prioritize tasks.
Basic computer literacy. Training will be given in the particular databases and applications used by individual wards.
Previous experience in a hospital setting as a clerical worker.
Familiarity with medical terminology.
Ability to set personal achievement and improvement goals with enthusiasm.
The drive necessary to be able to work as a team-member as well as an independent worker.
An attitude of patient-care focus in all work practices.
The category of ward clerk falls under the classification of nursing services rather than clerical services. Standards applicable to medical staff for Occupational Health and Safety issues as well as Infection Control, also apply to ward clerks.
The position of ward clerk is one that often becomes available only on the retirement of the person previously holding that title. It is a job that once embarked upon is difficult to abandon. There is a lot of personal satisfaction to be gained in being part of a team that offers a valuable service to the community.
The rewards for just doing your job are continuously evident in the smile of a weary nurse, the nod from an overworked doctor and the gratitude of a patient who is going home.