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What is it really like to work as a Medical Secretary

What is  it really like to work as a Medical Secretary


The role of a medical secretary is an interesting and challenging one, as one of our recent Diploma graduates Audrey has found.

Audrey’s background is in catering management and she previously worked in a large financial institution, but wanted a change and the medical secretary role appealed. After taking the Pitman Medical Secretarial Diploma with us, Audrey now works as a Medical Secretary in a busy North Dublin practice.

The medical practice

The team at the medical practice is made up of two doctors, an occupational health doctor and a nurse. Audrey is the only medical secretary in the practice and is supported by a part-time receptionist. With such a small team, there is a large amount of responsibility on Audrey’s head, which she sometimes finds challenging but admits she enjoys as it brings variety to her work.

The day-to-day life of a Medical Secretary

Audrey works from 8.30am to 5.30pm with an hour for lunch, which is typical of the industry. Her day begins with opening the post and checking voicemail messages, and attending to any urgent matters. She then scans in notes to be added to patients’ digital files.

Patients have appointments from 9am and it is her responsibility, along with the receptionist when she is working, to meet and greet them. The morning surgery for patients runs until 12:20pm, during which time Audrey also takes patients’ and Pharmacist’ calls, calls the hospital to chase results, deals with deliveries and collections of lab samples and test results, and billing patients.

Lunch will then begin around 12:30pm and the afternoon surgery begins at 1:30pm, which sees another flood of patients attending afternoon appointments. The afternoon also brings more admin based tasks, including dealing with payment claims from the HSE, updating various databases from immunisation to cervical checks, and reconciling bank statements.

Another important aspect of Audrey’s work is dealing with abnormal test results. It is important that the patients are contacted and brought back in to see their GP as soon as possible when these occur, and that follow up tests and check-ups are arranged.

When the GPs are on holiday, Audrey is responsible for opening up and locking the practice and looking supporting the Locum and Registrar doctors who are covering for the GPs.  

Audrey’s favourite part of her job

Audrey admits that she does still look forward to the weekend, like any Monday to Friday worker! But unlike before, she now ends the week with a huge sense of achievement and actually looks forward to starting another week in a job she enjoys.

She particularly enjoys getting to know the patients and being able to help them. She admits there are sometimes “difficult” patients to deal with; people who lose their temper or aren’t polite or co-operative with herself or the receptionist. However, she here past experience working with people in the corporate world have helped her to deal with these patients, and she says it’s something you learn to deal with better as you adjust to the role and the practice. 

How Audrey’s Medical Secretarial Diploma has helped her

Without the Medical Secretarial Diploma, Audrey feels she would not be equipped to deal with the technical tasks involved with being a specialised medical secretary, such as compiling confidential letters, typing reports for patient records and assisting with medical journals. 

Audrey is extremely happy in her role and is glad she made the career change, despite being slightly nervous to start. She intends to continue working as a medical secretary, preferably in a small practice as she prefers the closeness of the team and the challenge of the varied role and responsibilities. 

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