If you want an important and challenging role in the NHS but can’t stand the sight of fake blood when you watch Casualty, then being a medical secretary might be the perfect job for you.
Ask any GP, nurse or medical practitioner and they’ll tell you how important this role is. But don’t go bothering your doctor to ask them about the job, just read our handy description.
So, what will I actually be doing?
Your job involves providing administrative support to medical staff. Depending on where you work, you may also be the first point of contact for patients – a role that requires tact, discretion and understanding, so no laughing at embarrassing illnesses.
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The nitty gritty
You daily duties will include:
Not just an important role at the local GP surgery, medical secretaries can work in a variety of environments like complementary health centres, hospitals, prisons and schools.
When it comes to the daily grind, most medical secretaries work standard office hours, Monday to Friday; however, you may occasionally need to work some shifts or weekends. If you’re looking for a role that is flexible, then it’s also ideal as there are often part-time or flexible working options.
Money, money, money
NHS medical secretaries currently earn between around £15k to £22k per year. But like any job, with further experience and training you can earn £26k plus per annum.
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The good points...
"Job satisfaction comes from knowing that you are part of a team that is contributing to people’s well-being – even to the extent of saving their lives," say the team at Association of Medical Secretaries, Practice Managers, Administrators and Receptionists (AMSPAR).
There’s also plenty of room for promotion and progression, as once you’ve learnt the ropes, you can move on to a bigger practice with more responsibility or apply for a position as a senior medical secretary. With appropriate training you could even go on to become office or practice manager.
...and the bad
"As the NHS is at the mercy of politicians it means that there seems to be constant change – on the plus side, it means it never gets boring!"
Is there study involved?
There is some studying and qualifications required for this role. Most employers will look for at least four GCSEs (A -C grades, including English).
Strong secretarial skills are also prerequisite and you’ll also need to have some understanding of medical jargon and processes, so you’ll need to have specialist training. AMSPAR run a variety of courses including:
- The Level 2 Diploma in Medical Administration
- The Level 3 Diploma for Medical Secretaries
- The Level 3 Certificate in Medical Administration
- The Level 3 Certificate in Medical Terminology
Or you could consider the AMSPAR Certificate in Health Service Administration.
Need additional qualifications? Find a course at our Learning Zone
OK, I'm interested... But is it really the job for me?
You need to be a super efficient, multi-tasking expert to be good at this job as this isn’t a role for the disorganised or easily flustered. Other skills that are useful to have include: