Health Unit Coordinator
Health Unit Coordinators (HUC) are members of the supporting cast that helps maintain a health care facility's service and performance. These trained individuals may also be known as unit clerks, ward clerks, or unit secretaries. The HUC plays an instrumental role to ensure the efficient operation of the hospital unit and medical offices by performing administrative and clerical tasks, such as maintaining medical records, scheduling appointments and medical tests, keeping supplies stocked, and communicating with other health care professionals, patients and visitors. They may also perform other duties such as performing routine and regulatory checks, patient placement and transfer including admission and discharge forms, and specimen labeling. Health unit coordinators usually work under the supervision of the registered nursing staff or the health information administrator. One of their main responsibilities is to act as a liaison between the patients and staff. They must have excellent communication skills in order to serve as this vital link between the physicians, nursing staff, various departments, patients, and visitors. Since these unit coordinators serve as the ‘hostess’ on patient floors, they must possess a pleasant and professional disposition in dealing with the public, maintain a clean and professional unit appearance, and excellent customer service skills. Anyone interested in this health related profession should pay close attention to detail, be flexible, reliable and dependable, and have the ability to follow instructions and procedures.
Most graduates of the Delta College Health Unit Coordinator Program are hired within one to three months. Positions are a mix of part-time and full-time, and most are in hospital settings, although other health organizations are also potential employers. After successful completion of the program, the student is awarded a certificate from Delta College. Area hospitals require this certificate of training before considering an applicant for employment. Graduates have the opportunity to join NAHUC.org (National Association of Health Unit Coordinators).
This program will give you the best jump start into an entry-level clerical position within the healthcare field. The class, including on-site clinical, is only 11 weeks!*
*The clinical internship requires you to be available for 7 hour shifts that will be scheduled at varied times of the day.
Health Unit Coordinator positions are available NOW in your community!
- Visit Delta College LifeLong Learning on Facebook for employment opportunity information. Also, make sure to visit the employment postings on area hospital websites for updates. Make sure to note that the following job titles may include: Health Unit Coordinator, Nursing Clerk, Unit Secretaries, and Ward Clerk; the minimum requirement for all employers is successful completion of a Health Unit Coordinator Program.
- The Health Unit Coordinator program is published on the Career Education Consumer Report (CECR) for Individual Training Account eligibility. This report is a listing of courses in high demand fields that are eligibility for a number of types of funding. Please print and reference this page when visiting your local Michigan Works office.
What will I learn in this course?
Fundamentals of the Health Unit Coordinator
The first four weeks (75 hours) of the program are spent in a classroom environment learning the fundamentals of the Health Unit Coordinator role including; medical terminology and common abbreviations, customer service and relationship based care, infectious control and universal precautions, working in a team and phone etiquette, HIPPA and patient confidentiality, charting, introduction to EMR systems, specimen labeling, patient placement, unit appearance, unit role play and scenarios. You are evaluated through written exams, class participation, punctuality and attendance.
Clinical Site & Systems Orientation
The next two weeks (40 hours) take place in the hospital setting, introducing you to the clinical site essentials including; Student Passport Alliance, site tour, safety, security and dress code, workplace orientation, customer service, mission, vision and values, hiring practices, site EMR overview, paper charts, consent forms, patient labels, face sheets, customer service, daily regulatory checks, scheduling, filing, telephone, unit stocking and appearance, until role play and scenarios.
You spend the next five weeks (100 hours) in the clinical/internship portion of the program. Here you will gain an invaluable hands-on experience at a local hospital implementing the HUC roles & responsibilities learned within the first six weeks. You train with a health unit coordinator preceptor (clinical instructor) during this time. You will perform unit specific duties, coordinate the flow of unit/floor, perform routine chart checks, act as a liaison between physician, nurse and patient, patient call light and caregiver assignments, maintain overall appearance of unit, and review of site hiring practices, application process and interview role play. An on-going evaluation by the instructor and the preceptor is conducted through individual conferences and written examinations.
The student must maintain a 75% average in each aspect of the program, including ethical and safety aspects as well as demonstrations in order to receive a certificate. Also, students must have consistent attendance in order to receive a certificate. There are no excused absences from this course.
Note: Consistent attendance is MANDATORY. If a problem arises, you MUST contact your instructor and your clinical unit prior to the class or clinical.
What does the health unit coordinator actually do on the job?
Health unit coordinators work in a variety of health care settings such as hospitals, clinics, public health care agencies, and health maintenance organizations (HMOs), nursing homes, home health agencies, and government agencies. Working conditions vary greatly with hours ranging from full-time to part-time. Health unit coordinators work in medically related organizations like hospitals, nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospices and insurance companies assisting the medical staff. Often they serve as liaison between the patients and doctors, nursing and other departments within the facility. Health care unit coordinators benefit from being able to connect everyone involved in the hospital, which gives them a level of confidence due to their knowledge of the inner workings of the facility.
A health unit coordinator facilitates patient care in the reception area of clinics, hospitals, government agencies and nursing homes. They assist patients with paperwork and provide clerical support for staff. Health unit coordinators must be organized, courteous and knowledgeable.
Health unit coordinators must have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They must be able to communicate accurately and efficiently to patients by phone, in person and in writing. Unit coordinators must also be able to accurately take and deliver messages from and to medical staff.
Health unit coordinators are often the first point of contact for patients arriving at the facility. They greet patients and visitors, complete patient intake on the facility's database system, provide directions and create a pleasant, welcoming environment. They answer phone calls from both external and internal callers and route them to the appropriate party. As the main receptionist, the health unit coordinator needs to be courteous and concise when assisting patients by phone or in the office. They must be able to remain emotionally neutral when confronted by patients who may be stressed by medical issues. Unit coordinators must also have a team-oriented attitude as they work with medical staff to ensure accurate patient care.
Health care facilities need to maintain accurate patient records. Unit coordinators need excellent office management skills because they often help patients fill out forms, photocopy documents and file patient information. Doctors and nurses may also require the unit coordinator to relay patient discharge instructions (including disease, injury or drug information) or schedule follow-up care. Knowledge of paper filing, charting, and Electronic Medical Record (EMR) systems is a must. This requires accurate typing skills of 40wpm and knowledge of medical terminology.
Health unit coordinators must be detail-oriented, with the ability to keep comprehensive schedules and inventories. They often are in charge of ordering unit supplies, from bandages to tongue depressors. Unit coordinators also organize and assign rooms, so they must maintain an accurate room schedule and organize patient charts.
Unit Staff & Patient Support
Health unit coordinators are an integral part of the communication between patients and facility staff, such as doctors, nurses, and surgeons. They field many non-emergency patient and visitor questions and determine if they should be referred to a staff member. Health unit coordinators organize meal schedules, notify staff of patient room changes and maintain the flow of nurses' duties to ensure that all patients are attended to as scheduled. Because of the heavy focus on paperwork, data processing and other clerical responsibilities, health unit coordinators are also commonly referred to as unit secretaries or unit clerks. They are responsible for preparing documents such as birth and death certificates, admission and discharge forms and patient charts. They also order supplies for the unit, send and receive faxes, notify staff of events and schedules via e-mail and memo, make photocopies and schedule meetings. Health unit coordinators file nurses' and physicians' paperwork and maintain the physical and electronic files of all patients actively being served in their unit to ensure it is easily accessible and well-organized for staff.
What kind of certification will I receive?
After successful completion of the program, the student is awarded a certificate from Delta College. Area hospitals require this certificate of training before considering an applicant for employment.
What kind of employment opportunities exist?
Health Unit Coordinators are in demand locally, most graduates of the Delta College Health Unit Coordinator Program are hired within one to three months. Positions are a mix of part-time and full-time, and most are in hospital settings, although other health organizations are also potential employers.
Students must go through Admission to Delta College. There are several ways to apply to Delta College. For an admissions application, office hours and other important information please contact the Admissions Office.
a. You may apply online. Select "Non-Academic LifeLong Learning, ND.11000" as your Program of Study.
b. You may also apply in person within the Admissions Office and pick-up the application. Your application will be processed while you are at the college and you will receive your student number.
2. Program Readiness
a. Students are exempt from COMPASS® testing with an associates degree or higher. If you are exempt, students must present transcripts to LifeLong Learning prior to registration.
b. Students must show program readiness with the following placement levels prior to registration.
• Writing – Level 4, COMPASS® Score 70 and above
• Reading – Level 4, COMPASS® Score 81 and above
• Math – Level 2, COMPASS® (Numerical/Pre-Algebra) Score 44 and above
c. Students may reach required placement levels by completing academic course work in combination with COMPASS®, Asset®, or ACT® test scores.
Accessing your Prerequisite Level
Students who have completed COMPASS® Testing may access their scores through their MyDelta account. Within the Student section of MyDelta, click on the "Placement Test Summary" link to calculate your scores. The placement test summary will calculate completed academic course work in combination with your COMPASS®/Asset test scores to give you an overall placement level. If your placement level does not meet the required prerequisite levels listed above for this program, you may need to retake one or more of the COMPASS® assessments.
For assistance determining your current placement level, please contact LifeLong Learning at 989-686-9444.
3. High School Diploma or GED® Test Credential
It is our recommendation that students who meet the above prerequisites have also attained a high school diploma or GED® test credential (a high school certificate of completion is not accepted) prior to participation and/or completion of this program. This recommendation is based on overall student success and hiring standards of many employers in the Great Lakes Bay Region.
4. Clinical Requirements:
Health Unit Coordinator Student Clinical Requirements - PDF
Please read this information carefully as the clinical requirements are mandatory for Health Unit Coordinator students and must be reviewed and completed prior to the class start date. Failure to do so may lead to program dismissal.
As a clinical student, it is your responsibility to maintain current health records while in a health care program. For participation in and admission to all clinical agencies, students must have a copy of all enclosed documents on file in the LifeLong Learning Office prior to the class start date. Students who do not have the required documentation will not be allowed to participate at the clinical site and will be dismissed from the program.
Enclosed are the following health related forms that you must complete and turn in prior to the first day of class. It is suggested that you call your physician immediately as it may take 4-6 weeks to schedule a physical examination appointment.
1. Physical Examination – “Delta College Physical Exam Form”
2. Hepatitis B Vaccine – “Hepatitis B Acknowledgment/Release Form”
3. Signed “Health and Wellness” Waiver Form
4. Documentation of Negative TB Skin Test – a positive skin test requires annual documentation by a physician or by a chest x-ray every two years.
5. Documentation of MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) immunization documentation unless you were born before 1957 – you may request a rubella titer drawn by your physician if no documentation is present.
6. Documentation of Td (tetanus) immunization documentation, current within 10 years.
7. Signed “Current Criminal History Release Form” – Current Criminal History – In accordance with Public Act 303 of 2002, section 20173; if your criminal history includes an instance that will prohibit you from participating as a student in the clinical experience, you will be dropped from the program and no refund will be given. If your background includes criminal history which would prohibit you from working in a healthcare facility, you are advised to drop the program prior to the first day of class.
Delta College ID card
Prior to the 1st day of class you will need to get a Delta College student ID card, available in the Public Safety Office in the N-wing. Items to bring with you are a valid picture id along with your printed statement of registration in the Health Unit Coordinator program. This service is free of charge and will be used to create clinical badges.
- Uniform requirement: A pair of scrubs (top and bottom) is required for the clinical portion of the course. You must dress according to hospital policy – including no piercings.
- Complete employment requirements may vary.
- CPR Certification is one common requirement for Health Unit Coordinator positions available with employers in the Great Lakes Bay region. Please visit LifeLong Learning's Basic Life Support (BLS) for Healthcare Providers webpage for classes available at Delta College.
- Basic Computer Proficiency, ability to type 30-40 wpm.
Textbooks are required for this course. You may purchase your book through the Delta College Bookstore:
Online: Order your book online at www.bookstore.delta.edu
By Phone: You can place your textbook order by phone 989-686-9030
In Person: Purchase textbooks in person on main campus in the bookstore
Cost & Schedule
Course Number: CHH-3302
Overall Dates: 2/10/15 - 4/23/15
Fundamentals of the Health Unit Coordinator
Lecture: 2/10/15 - 3/5/15
Days: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays
Time: 8am - 4pm
Location: Delta College Main Campus
Clinical Site & Systems Orientation
Dates: 3/9/15 - 3/19/15
Time & Location: 3 days a week, 6 hour shifts
Monday - Thursday, 1st or 2nd shift, depending on clinical site
Assignments will be determined at the end of the first week of class.
Dates: 3/23/15 - 4/23/15
Time & Location: 3 days a week, 7 hour shifts
Monday - Thursday, 1st shift, depending on clinical site and floor unit
Assignments will be determined at the end of the first week of class.
*The on site clinical internship requires you to be available for 8 hour shifts that will be scheduled at varied times of the day. If you are currently employed full-time or have other obligations that would hinder your being scheduled for these 8 hours shifts, you must speak with the program director prior to registration.
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LifeLong Learning Personnel has made every reasonable effort to determine that everything stated in this guide was accurate at the time it was published. Programs and Testing Services offered and related fees, with other matters contained therein, are subject to change or cancellation without notice by Delta College LifeLong Learning for reasons related to student enrollment, or for any reason, at the discretion of the college. Delta College LifeLong Learning reserves the right to cancel class and test sessions.