The main responsibility of a medical unit coordinator is to function as a liaison between healthcare staff members and patients. You can complete an appropriate certificate program at a community college or vocational school in less than one year. Keep reading to learn more about your career opportunities as a medical unit coordinator.
The role of a medical unit coordinator is to organize and maintain the efficiency and performance of a healthcare facility. Other titles given to medical unit coordinators include health unit coordinator, unit secretary, ward clerk and unit clerk. Your daily duties would entail maintaining patient records and charts, preparaing special documents or certificates, coordinating patient care and communicating with dietary staff members.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected that between 2008 and 2018, an additional 3.2 million new jobs would be available in healthcare (www.bls.gov). As of May 2010, about 193,980 people worked in healthcare support, which includes medical unit coordinators. Although you're most likely to work in a hospital, positions are also available in doctor's offices, medical clinics and nursing homes, according to the Florida Area Health Education Centers Network (www.flahec.org). The BLS doesn't provide specific employment growth information for this career, but the job outlook for medical unit coordinators should be good because it's part of the fast-growing healthcare field. This is partially because as the baby boomer generation gets older, they need more medical care, which increases employment of healthcare workers across the board.
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for healthcare support workers was $30,280 as of May 2010. Payscale.com has salary information specifically for health unit coordinators and reported that the annual salary for most of these professionals ranged from $21,112 to $41,930 as of November 2011. If you pass the health unit coordinator examination offered by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators, Inc., you can achieve voluntary certification as a health unit coordinator. This can lead to additional job opportunities and higher salaries, since you're showing potential employers that you're committed to the field and that you're serious about growing professionally.
To become a medical unit coordinator you must earn a certificate or a diploma. These programs usually take less than a year to complete are available at community colleges, technical colleges and vocational schools across the nation. Associate's degree programs for health unit coordinators are available and they cover the same subjects, but more in-depth. The curriculum prepares you to lighten the load of doctors, nurses and other medical staff by welcoming new patients, giving visitors directions, compiling patients' charts and scheduling tests or appointments.
Through a health unit coordinator certificate program or associate's degree program, you can study the anatomy and physiology of the human body and learn to correctly identify various systems and what they do. You'll become proficient in medical and laboratory terminology, so you can transcribe doctor's orders and understand what those around you are saying. In other medical unit coordinator courses, you can acquire basic computer skills, including typing. These courses use professional software that trains you to check patients into the doctor's office and learn to make sure the codes for their medical bills are correct. Many schools provide the opportunity to complete an internship, so you can gain real-world experience as a coordinator before you try to land a job.