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Being a Medical Receptionist. The good, the bad and the ugly!

17-70, that’s the age range of the current medical receptionists at a busy practice in the heart of Somerset. This just shows how versatile the job is, no 2 days the same. Whether you are just starting your career at 17 or are settled in until retirement the role of a medical receptionist can appeal to all.

Being a medical receptionist, to me, is so much more thank booking appointments or cancelling clinics. We are the face of the practice through good times and bad. No matter what, we are the friendly face opening the front door at 8.30am or the kind voice on the other end of the phone during your time of need.

I can promise you that no one takes on the challenge of being a medical receptionist just to make your life difficult. Granted, most of us had no idea how busy or difficult the job would be when we started, but our desire to help overrides however busy or challenging a day can be. As a receptionist our own feelings or personal troubles are set aside the moment we start work. We take on the trials and tribulations of our patients as our own and do our very best to accommodate and help.

A ‘typical’ day for us starts at around 8.15am, we come in and log into our MANY computer systems and are ready to go when that door opens. 8.30am rolls around and it’s time to open those doors. Patients file in, forming an orderly queue looking expectantly at us to help solve their problems, queries and questions. At the same hundreds of incoming calls come through the phone lines. Headsets at the ready we lift that receiver, no idea what is going to greet us on the other side.

We are not medically trained, not do we wish to be, and we leave that up to the professionals! To ask a patient the reason for their call is probably one of the hardest parts of the jobs but at the same time the most necessary. Without knowing the problem how do we provide suitable advice or an appointment to help solve it? We do not ask this question to be nosy, as many people believe, we ask because this is what our GP’s request us to do to try to make their day go as smoothly as possible and so the patient is seen by the right clinician at the right time.

The main reason I love my job is the variety each day brings. Each call is a different patient with a different problem. Armed with as much information and training as possible we listen & advise to best of our ability. Being a medical receptionist is by far the hardest job I have ever had. Each day comes with its own set of challenges to overcome as an individual and as a team. A great team is what keeps a GP surgery going through trying times. If you have a great team working at a surgery, clinical & clerical, the stress and pressure seems less, the long tiring days seem less and the friends you acquire along the way make working in a difficult environment so much easier.

Blog Author Claire Burke

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