17 Hospital Unit Secretary Interview Questions and Answers

Learn what skills and qualities interviewers are looking for from a hospital unit secretary, what questions you can expect, and how you should go about answering them.

Unit secretaries are an integral part of the hospital team. They work with patients, doctors, nurses, and other hospital staff to ensure that the administrative side of patient care runs smoothly. This includes handling patient charts, scheduling appointments, and coordinating tests and treatments.

Unit secretaries are often the first people patients meet when they arrive at the hospital, and they play an important role in setting the tone for the patient’s stay. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for questions about your customer service skills, your ability to handle stress, and your knowledge of medical terminology.

To help you get ready for your interview, we’ve put together a list of unit secretary interview questions and answers.

Are you familiar with the medical terminology used in the hospital setting?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience working in a hospital setting. If you haven’t worked in a hospital before, you can explain that you are willing to learn the terminology and how it’s used in their facility.

Example: “I’ve been working as an administrative assistant for over five years now, but I only started working at my current company about two years ago. When I first started here, I was unfamiliar with many of the medical terms we use on our unit. However, I took several online courses to familiarize myself with the language. Now, I feel confident using all of the terminology correctly.”

What are some of the most important skills for a unit secretary to have?

This question can help the interviewer determine if you have the skills necessary to succeed in this role. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a few of your strongest skills and how they relate to the position.

Example: “The most important skill for a unit secretary is communication. This job requires me to communicate with many different people on a daily basis, including doctors, nurses, patients and their families. I also need strong organizational skills because there are so many tasks that I need to complete each day. Finally, I find that problem-solving skills are beneficial as well. There are always unexpected situations that arise, and being able to solve problems quickly can make my job much easier.”

How would you describe the role of a unit secretary in the medical field?

This question is an opportunity to show your knowledge of the role and responsibilities of a unit secretary. You can describe what you do as a unit secretary, how it helps others in the medical field and why you enjoy doing it.

Example: “A unit secretary’s primary responsibility is to support the doctors and nurses on their hospital unit. I make sure that all staff members have access to important documents and information they need for patient care. For example, I keep track of each doctor’s schedule so they know when they are working and which patients they will be seeing. I also ensure that all staff members have access to supplies and equipment they need to provide quality care to patients.”

What is your experience with using medical software or other technology?

Hospital unit secretaries often use medical software to manage patient information and other tasks. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience using these types of programs or technology in a healthcare setting. Before your interview, read through the job description to see if they mention any specific software or technology that they use on their unit. If so, try to find out what type of training they offer new employees. Show them that you are willing to learn by mentioning how quickly you can pick up new systems.

Example: “I’ve worked as a hospital unit secretary for five years now. In my previous role, we used an electronic health record system to keep track of all our patients’ information. I am very familiar with using EHRs, and I feel confident that I could adapt to whatever system you use here at St. Mary’s Hospital.”

Provide an example of a time when you had to manage multiple tasks at once.

This question can help interviewers understand how you handle stress and prioritize your work. When answering this question, it can be helpful to describe a specific time when you had multiple tasks to complete in a short amount of time and the steps you took to manage them all effectively.

Example: “In my previous role as hospital unit secretary, I often had to balance many different tasks at once. One day, for example, I was helping patients check in, scheduling doctors’ appointments, managing incoming phone calls and responding to emails. At one point during the day, I also needed to find a doctor to cover an emergency surgery. I handled these tasks by prioritizing what needed to get done first and then moving on to other tasks after completing the most important ones.”

If a patient asked you a question about a doctor’s visit, what would be your response?

This question is a great way to assess your customer service skills. It also allows the interviewer to see how you would interact with patients and their families. When answering this question, it can be helpful to think of a time when you helped a patient or family member understand something about their doctor’s visit.

Example: “If a patient asked me about their doctor’s visit, I would first make sure they understood who I was and that I worked in the hospital. Then, I would explain what my role was as their secretary and that I am not a medical professional. However, I would tell them that I could help answer any questions they have about their appointment. If they wanted more information on a specific procedure, I would direct them to someone else who could provide more details.”

What would you do if you noticed a mistake in a patient’s medical record?

This question can help interviewers assess your attention to detail and ability to work independently. When answering, it can be helpful to mention a specific time you noticed a mistake in a patient’s medical record and how you handled the situation.

Example: “When I was working as an ER unit secretary at St. Mary’s Hospital, I noticed that one of my patients had been misdiagnosed with a broken arm when they actually had a fractured wrist. I immediately notified the doctor who made the diagnosis so he could correct his mistake before the patient left the hospital. The doctor thanked me for noticing the error and fixing it before the patient left the hospital.”

How well do you perform under pressure?

Working as a hospital unit secretary can be stressful at times. Employers ask this question to make sure you have the ability to perform well under pressure. When answering, try to show that you are able to stay calm and focused when things get hectic. Try to give an example of a time where you had to work under pressure.

Example: “I am someone who thrives under pressure. I find that working in a fast-paced environment is something I enjoy. In my last job, there were many days where we would have multiple emergencies happening at once. During these situations, I always remained calm and focused on getting each task done. This helped me complete all tasks quickly so that our patients received the care they needed.”

Do you have any experience working with confidential information?

Hospital units often handle sensitive information, such as medical records and insurance details. Employers ask this question to make sure you understand the importance of keeping this information confidential. In your answer, explain that you will keep all confidential information private. You can also mention any specific training or certifications you have in handling confidential information.

Example: “I have worked with confidential information for many years now. I am a member of the National Health Information Management Association, which offers certification in health information management. This certification requires me to complete continuing education courses every two years. These courses teach me how to protect patient privacy and confidentiality. I would continue these courses if hired by your hospital.”

When communicating with patients, how do you ensure you understand their needs?

This question can help interviewers understand how you communicate with patients and their families. It can also show them your ability to listen and respond appropriately. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention a specific time when you had to communicate with a patient or family member.

Example: “When communicating with patients and their families, I make sure that I am listening carefully to what they are saying. If there is something I don’t understand, I ask for clarification so I can ensure I fully understand the situation. In my previous role, I worked with many patients who spoke English as a second language. This helped me learn some basic phrases in other languages so I could better communicate with these patients.”

We want to improve our customer service. Describe a strategy you would use to improve our patient satisfaction.

Hospital unit secretaries often interact with patients and their families. Employers ask this question to learn more about your customer service skills. Use your answer to explain a strategy you would use to improve patient satisfaction. You can also share an example of how you helped increase the level of satisfaction in your previous role.

Example: “I believe that providing excellent customer service is one of the best ways to improve patient satisfaction. I always make sure to greet patients and their family members as they arrive. This helps them feel welcome and cared for. If someone needs help finding something, I am happy to assist them. I find that these small gestures go a long way toward improving overall satisfaction.”

Describe your experience with scheduling appointments.

Scheduling appointments is a common responsibility for hospital unit secretaries. Employers ask this question to make sure you have experience with scheduling and can do it well. In your answer, explain that you know how to schedule appointments using the computer system of the hospital. Explain that you are familiar with the different types of schedules and how to use them.

Example: “In my previous role as a secretary at a medical office, I was responsible for scheduling all patient appointments. I used our company’s online appointment scheduling software to enter each patient’s information into their own calendar. This allowed patients to view their upcoming appointments from home or on their phone. I also scheduled doctors’ appointments and meetings. I am comfortable working with multiple calendars and systems.”

What makes you stand out from other candidates?

Employers ask this question to learn more about your qualifications and how you can contribute to their team. When answering, it’s important to highlight a skill or experience that makes you unique from other candidates. You may also want to mention something that relates to the job description.

Example: “I have excellent communication skills, which is why I am able to work well with others in a team setting. In my previous role as a hospital unit secretary, I was responsible for communicating patient information to doctors and nurses. This required me to speak clearly and concisely so everyone understood what I was saying. I also had to make sure I didn’t give out any confidential information.”

Which computer programs do you have experience using?

The interviewer may ask this question to see if you have experience using the hospital’s computer programs. If they haven’t specified which ones they use, it can be helpful to research their website or call them to find out what software they use before your interview. This way, you can show that you’re prepared and knowledgeable about how to use the systems in place at the hospital.

Example: “I’ve used Microsoft Office for years, so I’m familiar with most of its programs. In my last role as a unit secretary, I also learned how to use the hospital’s patient management system. It was a little overwhelming at first, but once I got the hang of it, I found it quite easy to navigate.”

What do you think is the most important aspect of customer service?

Customer service is an important part of working in a hospital. The interviewer may ask this question to see how you prioritize customer service when it comes to other responsibilities as a unit secretary. Use your answer to explain what makes good customer service and why it’s so important.

Example: “I think the most important aspect of customer service is being able to listen to customers. When I’m on the phone with patients or their families, my goal is always to make sure they feel heard. If they’re upset or confused, I try to speak slowly and clearly so that they understand everything I say. This helps them feel more comfortable and confident about their care.”

How often do you update patient records?

This question can help interviewers understand how often you work with confidential information and the level of accuracy you maintain. When answering, consider what type of information you update regularly and describe your process for ensuring it’s accurate.

Example: “In my previous role as a hospital unit secretary, I updated patient records daily. Each morning, I would check in all new patients who arrived at the hospital and record their vital signs, medical history and any other relevant information. Then, throughout the day, I would update the records when additional information was available or if there were changes to the patient’s condition.”

There is a doctor on call who is not known for their bedside manner. How do you handle the situation?

This question is a great way to see how you handle conflict. It also shows the interviewer that you are willing to speak up for yourself and others when necessary. When answering this question, it can be helpful to mention specific steps you would take to address the situation.

Example: “I have worked with several doctors who were not as friendly or empathetic as I would like. In these situations, I try to approach them privately and ask if they would consider being more kind to their patients. If they refuse, I will continue to remind them of the importance of patient care. If they still do not change their behavior, I will report them to my supervisor.”


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