Medical Secretary Job

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What You Need to Know

  1. Medical secretaries support doctors and other healthcare professionals, mainly in an administrative capacity
  2. As a medical secretary, you will almost always be juggling a varied, hectic workload with hardly a minute to sit back and take a breather
  3. However, the work is rarely boring and may often be highly rewarding
  4. Most medical secretaries work standard office hours, though if you work in a hospital, you may have to work on a shift system
  5. You don’t need any formal training to work as a medical secretary, though employers will almost always expect you to have a good level of education
  6. To boost your chances of getting a job, and gaining promotion, look into courses offered by The British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators
  7. Starting pay for medical secretaries starts at around £15,000 a year, though this can rise to around £26,000 with time

What Do Medical Secretaries Do?

Medical secretaries lend their support to doctors and other healthcare professionals, usually taking care of a wide range of administrative and organisational tasks and ensuring the smooth running of a practice, clinic or hospital department.

As a medical secretary, you will almost always be juggling a varied, hectic workload with hardly a minute to sit back and take a breather. While your exact duties will vary according to where you work, they may include:

Handling enquiries from new and existing patients, making appointments and sending out appointment reminders

  • Taking care of doctors’ or consultants’ diaries and waiting lists
  • Sending out patient samples to laboratories for testing and ensuring they are dealt with in a timely fashion
  • Maintaining patient databases, making sure all information is kept up-to-date and accurate
  • Ensuring patient data is kept safe, secure and private at all times

Generally speaking, as a medical secretary you will be required to work normal office hours with weekends off. However, some hospital departments require round-the-clock support so you may be required to work on a shift system, though you may get paid extra for working unsocial hours.

Skills and Qualifications

You don’t need any formal training to work as a medical secretary, though employers will almost always expect you to have a good level of education and often some relevant professional experience.

So, at the very least you should have a few good GCSEs – with maths and English particularly useful – though some professional training will also help you stand out from the crowd.

The British Society of Medical Secretaries and Administrators (BSMSA) runs a wide range of courses, including short, part-time courses on topics such as medical administration and medical terminology. Learn more about these on the BSMSA website. (http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/explore-by-career/healthcare-science/careers-in-healthcare-science/careers-in-physiological-sciences/audiology/)

Alternatively, some doctors’ surgeries take on Apprentices, giving you the chance to learn on-the-job while earning a small wage at the same time. Visit the official Apprenticeships website (www.apprenticeships.org.uk) to learn more about the initiative and to find a scheme in your local area.

Training and Career Development

Most medical secretaries learn on-the-job, picking up new skills and knowledge from more-experienced staff and attending in-house training sessions. However, if you want to push yourself further, there are also a number of part-time courses you can take to boost your professional abilities, beef-up your CV and enhance your career prospects.

Alongside the short courses offered by the BSMSA, you could, for example, take a City & Guilds qualification in administration or secretarial skills. Meanwhile, the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR) runs short courses for professionals in the field. Again, these can help make you more employable and your employer may be happy to support you while you train.

Pay and Benefits

Starting pay for medical secretaries starts at around £15,000 a year, based on a standard 40-hour week. If you work in a more specialised role – for instance in certain hospital departments – or if you take on more responsibilities, your pay can rise to around £26,000 a year, while you may be able to boost your income by working in the private sector rather than in the NHS.

Aside from the pay, benefits of working as a medical secretary include the buzz of working in a busy, vibrant environment, working as part of a small team and enjoying the ability to meet people from all walks of life on a daily basis.

Possible Downsides

Potential downsides of working as a medical secretary include the relatively low rate of pay; even if you have several years’ worth of experience, you are unlikely to earn much more than £20,000 a year. Alongside this, the job can often be highly stressful, not least if you work in a busy surgery or in a hectic hospital department.

Finding Work

First of all perform a jobsearch here, we have 500,000 jobs listed all the time.

Most medical secretaries are employed by the NHS, either in clinics, doctors’ surgeries or in hospitals. As such, if you’re looking for a new job, the best place to start your search is the NHS Jobs site (http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/). Here, you can search through hundreds of jobs for both inexperienced and experienced secretarial and administrative staff, including for vacancies in your local area.

Alternatively, you could make use of the many recruitment agencies placing medical secretaries in positions in both the NHS and the private sector. Reed, TPP and, in London, Secs in the City all have specialist medical administration sections, so be sure to register your details with them.

Further Reading

Visit the NHS Careers website to learn more about working in a support role in a public hospital or clinic: http://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/


 
 
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