Medical Secretaries are often the first voice and face that patients encounter in their journey with the Medical Specialist. Good medical secretaries share common traits:
- Excellent Communicators – An active listener with empathy, who ensures patients and their treating practitioners are informed every step of the way.
- Caring – patients who see a medical specialists often have serious health issues. If they truly care about their role, it shows through to patients and the treating Doctor and patients are ultimately there to be cared for.
- Friendly –approachable, on the phone, via email and in person. Patients can be feeling anxious and scared, so if they can help them feel more comfortable, they will making the job of the medical specialists easier from the start.
- Helpful –providing solutions to requests from both medical specialists and the patients. A problem deferred can quickly turn into a bigger issue.
- Ability to multi-task – medical specialist rooms, particularly group practices, are very busy environments and staff require the ability to perform many different functions, often at the same time.
- Presentable– As the ‘window’ to the practice, people will often judge a practice on their experience in the rooms at reception or on that first call to make an appointment. Well-presented Medical Secretaries that speak clearly and professionally, can make a huge difference to the patient’s experience.
- Private – Confidentiality is an underlying trait of all good people in healthcare.
The hard part is figuring out if your staff members have these traits or they just tell you in the interview they have them. References and testing can help, but often they don’t. Training is very important, but some skills/traits can be difficult for some employees to gain.
Obviously it’s near on impossible to get the PERFECT candidate, but you need to ensure they have the traits you need, as each practice is different. For example, despite an extensive training process, I had to let go one medical secretary in very busy group practice, because they just didn’t have the multi-task ability required for that role. A few months later, I was asked by a solo practitioner to help with something and sitting right there at the front desk was this same employee in the role of Practice Manager. She was caring, friendly, presented well and upheld privacy. It was most definitely costing the specialist financially to employ someone who wasn’t efficient, but both the Doctor and employee were happy with the arrangement…..until a few Doctors joined him in what became a group practice and history repeated for that employee.