One of the unsung heroes of healthcare is someone who’s actually at the center of it all. The Health Unit Coordinator helps to ensure the smooth operation of a floor, department or physicians’ office. It’s an important position—one that enables doctors and nurses to focus on their duties and provide the best patient care possible. If you want a healthcare career, becoming a Health Unit Coordinator might be a good entryway into this rewarding industry. Here’s what to do:
Train to Be a Health Unit Coordinator
Before you step into the role of a health unit coordinator, you’ll need to learn how to do the job successfully. Choose an accredited program at a college with a long history of training healthcare professionals. Make sure it will teach you the basics of health care delivery, what it takes to manage a health care unit, and the proper safety and security protocols. Your training should cover topics such as communication and patient care as well as electronic health records and medical billing and coding. Training is valuable because it prepares you for the job and also lets future employers know that you acquired important healthcare skills that will serve you well in the role.
Earn a Health Unit Coordinator Certification
Do you know what will also look good on your resume? Health Unit Coordinator certification! While certification isn’t required to work as a Health Unit Coordinator, many employers prefer candidates who hold the credential. A certification can give you an edge over the competition because it shows that the industry itself has confidence in your knowledge and skills. The National Association of Health Unit Coordinators administers the Health Unit Coordinator Certification, which is the standard for professionals in this field. The exam consists of 100 questions related to order management, equipment, communication, coordination of the health unit, and professional development. The school you choose to learn HUC skills should also prepare you to sit for this exam.
Gain Knowledge and Experience on Your Own
While you’re in school, you can gain experience through volunteer work or job shadowing. Any opportunity you have to work in or near a medical setting can give you insight into your future career. It helps you understand the challenges and rewards and also looks good on your resume. You can also ask people who work in the industry, what they like about serving patients and working with healthcare professionals.
Find a Health Unit Coordinator Job
Once you graduate and earn your certification, go look for that first job. As a Health Unit Coordinator, you could work in a variety of settings, such as hospitals, group practices, and out-patient clinics, and help manage various units such as ERs, pediatric units, or surgical units. Look at the job boards in those locations, but also check online and ask people you know who work in a medical setting. Be aware that Health Unit Coordinators may also be called Unit Coordinators, Patient Care Liaisons, Medical Unit Coordinators, Nursing Unit Coordinators, and other similar names. Check out the job descriptions and ask yourself: Could I do the job?
Continue Your Education and Re-Certify
Your certification is valid for three years. After that, you’ll want to recertify. As part of the process, you’ll be asked to either take the exam again or complete 36 hours of continuing education to ensure that your knowledge and skills are up to date. Your continuing education can include NAHUC-provided quizzes, workshops, seminars, written journal articles or conference presentations. The goal is to ensure that you can continue to provide the best patient care possible and that the industry can retain great health care professionals.
Are you ready to become a health unit coordinator? At Charter College, we offer a Certificate in Health Unit Coordinator that can train you for this dynamic role. You’ll learn from healthcare professionals who have years of experience, and you’ll also be prepared to sit for the national certification exam. Call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form for more information.