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A hospital ward secretary primarily performs clerical duties for doctors and nurses, but may also interact with patients from time to time. Most employers require only a high school education to begin on-the-job training, while others prefer to hire candidates with formal training. You may also want to seek voluntary professional certification in this field before you become a ward secretary. Ward secretaries who work directly with patients must complete some type of nursing assistant training to qualify for this position and professional certification may be required as well.
Most of the skills needed to become a ward secretary are gained through on-the-job training and many employers will allow you begin this career with only a high school education. You will probably be required to have basic clerical skills such as word-processing and filing before beginning your training. It might also be a good idea to volunteer at a hospital or clinic in your spare time to become familiar with basic medical facility procedures. Certain employers may require completion of a specialized training course at a community college or technical institute. These courses are designed to instruct you in the fundamentals of health-care clerical procedures and usually take less than one year to complete.
You may want to become professionally certified in this field to show prospective employers that your skills are up-to-date with current technology and legal standards. Voluntary certification can often give you a hiring advantage over other job-seekers and also allows you to become a ward secretary in any local region. In the United States, a widely-recognized, professional certification is offered by the National Association of Health Unit Coordinators. A high school education is the only prerequisite for this exam and recertification is required every three years. Continuing education courses must be completed prior to recertification to keep your knowledge and skills current.
After you become a ward secretary, you will mainly be engaged in clerical activities, but some employers may also allow you to interact with patients. You will probably be required to complete a nursing assistant training program in order to work directly with patients. These programs typically require two years of classroom instruction and are offered by many community colleges and technical schools. During your training, you will be taught the fundamentals of patient care, including bathing, dressing, feeding, and taking vital signs. Completing nursing assistant training will increase your overall skills and allow you to assume greater job responsibilities.
Once you have completed this additional training, you should also consider becoming a certified nursing assistant. Having this professional certification will assure potential employers that your knowledge and skills are in compliance with current ethical and legal standards. In the United States, a widely-accepted certification can be obtained by successfully completing the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program exam. Candidates must pass a three-part test that measures written, oral, and technical skills.