Medical SecretaryJob Description:
Medical secretaries provide office support in hospitals, GP surgeries, private clinics and universities.Job Category:
What you will do:
In this role you could:
- handle questions from patients, staff and consultants
- organise a doctor’s diary, book consulting rooms and meetings
- make travel arrangements
- manage a waiting list of patients
- update patient records and deal with confidential information
- send samples for medical testing and record the results
- type letters, clinical reports, minutes of meetings and do filing
- monitor an office budget and deal with invoices
- administration skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
As well as:
- customer service skills
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail (organisational skills)
- the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure (leadership skills)
- excellent verbal communication skills
To become a medical secretary, you don’t typically need specific GCSEs (or their equivalents) related to the field, but you should have a strong foundation in general education and administrative skills. However, some relevant subjects and skills can be beneficial for this career. Here’s a list of subjects and skills that can be useful for aspiring medical secretaries:
- English Language (Essential): Excellent written and verbal communication skills are essential for medical secretaries as they deal with patients, healthcare professionals, and medical records regularly.
- Mathematics (Essential): Basic math skills are necessary for tasks such as billing, processing insurance claims, and managing financial records.
- Science (Recommended): While not mandatory, having a basic understanding of biology or anatomy can be helpful for understanding medical terminology and documents.
- IT and Computer Skills (Essential): Proficiency in word processing, spreadsheet software, email, and electronic health record (EHR) systems is crucial for managing patient records and other administrative tasks.
- Business Studies (Useful): A basic understanding of business principles and organizational skills can be beneficial in managing appointments, billing, and general office tasks.
You can get into this job through:
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You could do a college course, which would teach you some of the skills and knowledge you need in this job. In the UK, for example, relevant subjects include:
- Level in Management and Administration
- Diploma in Medical Administration
- Diploma in Medical Terminology
You can get into this role through a business administrator advanced apprenticeship.
This typically takes 18 months to complete as a mix of workplace learning and off the job study.
If you already work in a healthcare setting, for instance, as a receptionist or clerical assistant, it may help you move into a medical secretary role if you take a relevant qualification while you’re working.
You’ll find it useful to have a typing or word processing qualification before you look for work. Some organisations may also want you to have knowledge of medical terminology.
To get a job as a medical secretary, you’ll need experience of working in an office, ideally in a secretarial role. Temporary work can be a good way of getting this experience.
Working Hours and Environment:
A typical week consists of 37-39 hours of work. You could be required to work between 8am and 6pm on a rota.
You could work in an office, at a GP practice or in a public or private hospital.
Career Path & Progression:
With experience, you could manage a team of secretaries in a large organisation.
With further training, you could become an administration manager, office manager or GP practice manager.
You could also move into roles in finance or HR.