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Medical Secretary : a human-centered profession

by | Sep 17, 2020 | Actualités, Economie et Emploi | 2 comments

Being a Medical Secretary is special and rewarding.

In these times, an Administrative Assistant is spoilt for choice regarding the sector in which they want to work in.  Any sector or company needs a skilled person looking after the administration. 

So why work in the medical field? What skills are required to work as a medical secretary? And what are the qualities most needed? 

A job that puts people at the centre

Those who choose a career in health care are those who enjoy helping people and meeting challenges, regardless of the professional “family”.

At the same time, they need to be empathetic, listen closely to clients, drawing on all their life experiences to understand others. They need a certain sense of connection and they must be able to be autonomous. These are professions that require altruism, an enjoyment for socialising, and understanding that other’s personal situations are sometimes complex and delicate.

People are central in the work of a medical secretary, and the broader implication is that you are looking after not just the well-being of each individual, but of the community, too.

A certain emotional and psychological stability and good physical condition are also required to handle the sometimes heavy workload, irregular schedules, as well as stressful work situations.

The responsibilities, more than in any other sector of activity, are vital, involving meticulous attention to detail, precise diagnosis, and above all, calm.

Good communication is essential

It is essential for a secretary to understand the needs of the patients, and thus to ask the right questions. Indeed, the more relevant questions you ask, the more you will identify the patient’s problem:

  • When?
  • What?
  • How? 
  • Why?

These questions allow the proper patient management, in order to avoid medical errors, save time, and thus ensure patient safety, in order to optimize communication with the doctor, colleagues, and patients.

It is important to have excellent communication: open-ended questions, dynamics of verbal language, through the words used (~30%), non-verbal through gestures (~70%) and/or para-verbal, through the intonation of the voice (~10%). It is therefore important to restate what patients say to demonstrate that you have understood the patient’s needs. In addition, they must also receive, classify, retain, and store the information given by the patient.

The medical secretary works as a team

Working in the health sector is also teamwork, which involves uniting energies and demonstrating a sense of collective purpose, and circulating information.

The medical secretary must be smiling and organized, but also know how to carry out the reception of patients, and be the permanent link between them and the doctors, whether they are psychologists, pediatricians, or others.

An administrative job

They will be constantly filing documents for patients in progress at the end of each day. They will therefore be methodical in filing and updating current files, while archiving completed files as they are completed.

Files must be filed in their place, either physically or digitally. In fact, if a physician is looking for and needs any information, it must absolutely be in the file, it must not be lost in any way. The secretary is his or her right-hand man and must be able to count on it at all times. Taking the time is important because any document that is misfiled is a lost document!

To sum up, the positive points for the medical secretary are to be in an even mood, to provide answers, while remaining understanding and respectful of what the patient is going through.

This must be reflected in their verbal expression, their welcome, or more commonly what is called non-verbal expression. This includes their posture, eye contact, facial expression, voice, appearance, touch as well as silence, which are all extremely important! It is also important to know that good communication helps to avoid medical errors, saves time, and thus ensures safety!



Further reading  :

Du secrétariat juridique au secrétariat médical : métier commun mais vocabulaire différent  by

Secrétaire réceptionniste, bien plus qu’un métier ! by

Secrétaire technique : une spécialiste dans son domaine by

Sources :édical

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  1. Marie

    Your article is well written, it gives a good vision of the profession of medical secretary which encompasses both patient reception, teamwork, good communication (verbal and non-verbal) as well as the secretarial aspect
    really great, I liked it.

  2. Lisset

    The work of the medical secretary is very interesting. I liked your article. Thank you !


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