Ward clerk

Ward clerks provide administrative support in hospital departments, clinics and on wards. This includes answering telephone calls, updating confidential patient data and making sure doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals, have access to patients’ medical records.

They also have lots of contact with patients, their relatives and carers to make sure they have all the information they need about their care.

Starting your career

Choosing subjects at school

To become a ward clerk, you need a good standard of general education. There are no specific entry requirements, but useful subjects include:

  • Administration and IT
  • English
  • Maths


An apprenticeship is a good way to start your career in healthcare.

Modern Apprenticeships

If you are interested in working in a healthcare support role, there is the Modern Apprenticeship in Healthcare Support.

All Healthcare Support modern apprentices study the three mandatory units of communication, health and safety, and learning development. For ward clerk, you will then choose your remaining units from the non-clinical pathway options.

Other relevant Modern Apprenticeships include:

Find out more about apprenticeships at apprenticeships.scot.

Work placement

If you’re at school, work experience could help you when applying to college, university or for a job in healthcare. You’ll learn new skills, improve your knowledge and discover what it’s like to work in the health service. Find out how to apply for work experience with the NHS. For this role, it would be helpful to have some experience working in an office.

The role

You will participate and help the day to day running of the ward area, including general administration duties, delegated by your team leader or the administration manager.

What you’ll do

Your main tasks include:

  • answering telephone enquiries
  • greeting patients, relatives and carers
  • managing ward filing systems
  • setting up and maintaining patient medical records
  • requesting medical records for new inpatients
  • ordering and maintaining ward stock

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • attention to detail
  • communicating with people
  • listening
  • organisation
  • problem-solving skills
  • teamwork

Who you’ll work with

You’ll work with:

  • doctors
  • nurses
  • healthcare support workers
  • human resources staff
  • health records staff
  • personal assistants
  • receptionists

Working environment

You could work in:

  • hospital wards
  • specialist departments or clinics

Useful information

To work as a ward clerk in the NHS, you’ll need to:

Did you know?

There are just over 25,000 administrative services staff working in the NHS in Scotland. They make up around 6.5% of the workforce.

Learning and development

You will be encouraged to develop your career by completing training and courses, such as:

  • an introduction to the department and its procedures
  • health and safety
  • risk management

You may also have the opportunity to study for additional qualifications, including:

  • SVQ Business and Administration at SCQF Level 6
  • HNC Administration and Information Technology at SCQF Level 7

A full range of qualifications on offer for staff working in business, administration, IT, finance and medical records is available on the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) website. Gaining new qualifications could lead to more senior roles.