When you first complete your CNA training, the careers available to you seem upfront and easy to understand. After all, you’ve put in the training to work with patients as a certified nursing assistant; after completing these courses, you expect to work in medical facilities like hospitals and nursing homes, but you are also aware of careers available in day care centers, adult care centers, and through home health.
What you might not be aware of is the opportunity you now have to earn a higher paycheck as a hospital unit secretary. That’s right; finishing CNA training does not necessarily mean you have to work one-on-one with patients every single day. With this type of opportunity, you can use your skills for other purposes.
After CNA Training: A Unit Secretary Job Description
Unit secretaries in hospitals are responsible for many different tasks that include several nonmedical duties. They are often the individuals who greet patients, file medical information, answer telephones, and operate machines that make the medical floor run smoothly, like copiers, computers, and fax machines. They may be responsible for typing up reports, ensuring correspondence is clear between different medical staff, and ensuring a patient’s medical information is up-to-date and safeguarded.
Because many unit secretaries have been through CNA training, they are not always limited to work behind a desk, though. Many times, they will help the rest of the medical staff with normal CNA duties, caring for patients whenever necessary. They are often asked to sit with patients who must be supervised as well.
How to Become a Unit Secretary After CNA Training
Becoming a unit secretary after CNA training simply requires dedication and a little patience. These positions are not as readily available as regular CNA positions, and may require additional training or experience. Many times, however, if you are able to get your foot in the door as a CNA at a hospital, you can make it know you are interested in becoming a unit secretary right away. The hospital can then evaluate your work and experience and determine if providing you with the proper training would be worth the effort.
In many cases, hospitals will provide additional classroom and clinical training for those who wish to become unit secretaries after CNA training. These courses can take anywhere from 120 hours to 170 hours in the classroom, with 50 to 100 hours of additional experience in a hospital setting. During these courses, you will learn about hospital procedures, customer service, medical vocabulary, and communication skill, all of which will assist you in becoming a skilled and successful secretary in the end.
While unit secretaries may not be subjected to much of the hard labor a regular CNA would experience after CNA training, they can expect just as high a salary, if not higher. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unit secretaries were earning an average of $32,490 a year in May of 2011. This equates to a mean hourly wage of $15.62.
Unit secretary positions can provide those who complete CNA training with additional options for employment and are available in many hospitals throughout the United States. They are also fantastic career options for CNAs who are becoming older or who have experience physical issues that prevent them from lifting or assisting patients like they used to when they first graduated from CNA training.