Medical Secretary Training ‘Gave Me Confidence For Career Change.’
Medical secretary training is vital if you are working as an administrator within the healthcare profession, as one woman found when she decided to alter her career path.
Lisa Nicolaou, 42, underwent medical secretary training with the Pitman Training centre in Holborn.
She originally chose to do a PA course, but later decided to do a medical diploma as she wanted a complete change of direction in her career, having previously worked as a wedding coordinator arranging overseas nuptials.
The NHS stresses that entry-level secretarial staff need to have good word-processing skills and are likely to work with databases and spreadsheets, deal with post, emails and phone calls as well as running a filing system.
Secretarial skills are essential for such roles, with some employers demanding qualifications to demonstrate these.
One step up from a basic secretarial or typist job is the position of medical secretary, which comes with added responsibility.
The job involves handling consultants’ correspondence, arranging appointments, dealing with questions or queries from patients and liaising with other healthcare staff.
There are a variety of possibilities for people entering the profession, as they can either work in a GP practice or for a hospital consultant.
The former involves dealing with correspondence concerning a huge range of different conditions, while the latter entails being based in a specific department, such as paediatrics or cardiology.
“Medical secretaries are expected to use their own initiative, make decisions and deal with patients and their relatives who are worried or upset about their illness. There is significant contact with patients, GPs and other healthcare staff,” says the NHS.
When moving from the travel industry to the secretarial profession, Ms Nicolaou realised that she would need to add to her CV.
“I was aware that I needed to upgrade my computer skills, so searched the web for courses. I didn’t bother looking at other courses once I came across Pitman Training as I knew this to be a trustworthy name as it has been around for years,” she says.
Ms Nicolaou comments that the medical secretary training helped her to improve her computer skills immensely. The touch typing courses she took as part of the training meant that she has also enhanced her competence in this area, getting rid of some bad habits that she had developed over the years.
“I have to say everything was clear and easy to follow, but when I did have questions the trainers were really helpful and explained everything clearly. Also I liked the fact that it was not classroom based so there were less distractions,” she adds.
The NHS says that good secretarial skills are also essential for this work, plus a good knowledge of medical terminology.
Students at Pitman Training can take diploma programmes or single medical secretary courses.
“Medical secretaries and personal assistants are required to use their initiative and a high level of independence in their work,” the NHS states.
AMSPAR, (the Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators & Receptionists) says that medical secretarial work is very varied and one of the most rewarding professions for people looking for employment in a healthcare environment.
“Increasingly, both women and men are regarding the position as a key stage on their way to management posts,” the organisation states on its website.
“The duties will range from the relatively routine to the challenging and no two working days will be the same,” it insists.
Ms Nicolaou started applying for jobs in healthcare once she had decided to do the diploma with Pitman Training and even though she had never done medical work before, she was able to secure an administrative job in a health centre before she had even finished the training.
“Within two months I was promoted to a new role of secretary for some new specialist clinics that the surgery had won a contract for,” she reveals.
Due to the flexibility of the training, she was then able to complete her diploma while working.
Her new job at a GP’s practice in Walthamstow is varied.
“As well as typing clinic letters for diabetes, dermatology and endocrinology clinics, I prep the clinics, make patient follow-up appointments, liaise with patients, consultants, GPs, nurses and clinic staff, conduct audits and order stock,” she explains.
Ms Nicolaou says that the qualifications she gained through medical secretary training at Pitman Training were great preparation for her current job.
“They have given me much more confidence but mostly I feel I have at last got a proper career path and if I’m ever out of work again I can look in one specific area instead of taking whatever I can find,” she concludes.