Working as a secretary in a medical environment involves more than just diary management and typing; it requires an in-depth knowledge of medical terminology, communication skills that are second to none, and a commitment to providing a first class service to consultants and patients.
So how do you go about becoming a Medical Secretary? Some start in administrative positions within the NHS or private sector. Clinic Administration, Ward Clerks or Medical Receptionist roles all offer great opportunities to develop knowledge of medical terminology and facility procedures. A background as a Personal Assistant can also be hugely beneficial, as many consultants require help with more than just medical reports and clinic coordination; some Medical Secretaries will also find themselves carrying out executive PA duties such as providing support to committees, taking minutes and organising travel.
Of course, some consultants will recognise that their practice requires a more expert hand and may look for candidates with several years’ experience already under their belt, but this does not mean that there aren’t plenty of positions out there for the more junior secretary. In such a diverse industry, there are countless opportunities to develop and find the perfect role.
Medical Secretary Qualifications & Development
Whilst there is no official route to take on the road to becoming a Medical Secretary, there are undoubtedly some skills that are absolute pre-requisites if you wish to succeed in the role. IT literacy and exceptional communication skills are expected, as is a good typing speed. There are many organisations you can connect with and courses available that could set you apart from other candidates and make your application head and shoulders above the rest.
The Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators & Receptionists (AMSPAR)
Becoming a member of AMSPAR is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to both the subject matter and to producing work of a high standard. Eligibility for membership is based on your qualifications and length of service, and members can benefit from access to AMSPAR’s in-house training, with CPD materials available to all members.
City & Guilds
AMSPAR has worked together with City & Guilds (one of the UK’s leading skills development organisations) for many years, and an AMSPAR credited qualification is considered by many to be the gold standard in Medical Secretary qualifications. Nationally recognised and available in classrooms across the country or online, these courses cover a wide range of medical secretarial skills, including Level 2 and 3 courses on medical word processing and legal aspects of administration, and Primary Care/Health Management at Level 5.
British Society of Medical Secretaries & Administrators (BSMSA)
The BSMSA, a professional body and City & Guilds approved training provider, offers beginners courses and soft skills courses that focus on customer care and dealing with difficult situations; great skills for any medical secretary.
Oxford, Cambridge & RSA (OCR)
OCR – who work in partnership with educational institutes and employers – offer a huge range of qualifications and certificates in business administration, such as the Stage II or III Text Processing qualification (which includes units on audio typing and medical word processing). More information on course content and training centres can be found through the OCR website.
Some employers will also expect their teams to continue with their professional development, and maintain their knowledge on a regular basis; this can be done easily by taking short e-learning courses relating to subjects such as data governance, safeguarding patients, and health & safety.
Don’t stop me now
And once you have worked as a Medical Secretary, the opportunities don’t stop there; many go on to become practice managers, office managers, team leaders, and even use their experience in different areas of healthcare such as marketing or recruitment.
The role of a Medical Secretary should not be underestimated; it can be a complex and demanding position, and requires motivation and dedication, but ultimately the knowledge that you have contributed to a smooth patient pathway experience can be extremely rewarding. It is this commitment to the role – and the patient – that we look for here at Designated Medical in our team members. For more information on our team and their backgrounds, take a look here.
If you need a Medical Secretary or are interested in becoming one with Designated contact us on 020 7952 1008 or visit our website at designatedmedical.com.
Author – Laura Synnott – Medical Writer at Designated Medical