Medical secretary: career and perspectives

Medical secretary is vital to the proper functioning of all types of medical establishments and personnel including hospitals, local community service centres (CLSCs), private clinics, doctors’ offices, GPs and specialists (e.g. dentists, dermatologists, pediatricians), laboratories, radiology centres, and government organizations and departments. Due to the large number of imminent retirements, the employment outlook is very good.

DESCRIPTION

The medical secretary has an incontrovertible intermediary role to play between patients and their family, the doctor and care personnel. A human touch and interpersonal skills are therefore highly sought after. The medical secretary’s tasks are often administrative, recurrent and carried out as per fixed standards.

The computerization of medical records management and billing has freed up time for less administrative tasks such as writing minutes, organizing agendas or lending a hand in public relations. Versatility is therefore much appreciated by recruiters.

MAIN DUTIES

  • Greet clients, book appointments.
  • Sort mail and prepare correspondence.
  • Transcribe medical reports.
  • Keep medical record filing up to date.
  • See to the confidentiality of certain patient files.
  • Complete various types of forms (e.g. medical assistance file).
  • Manage doctors’ schedules.
  • Organize meeting logistics.
  • Gather departmental statistics.
  • Education and job requirements
  • Medical secretaries should have a diploma of vocational studies (DVS) in medical secretarial studies. An attestation of vocational specialization (AVS) in medical secretarial studies may be required.

SKILLS

  • Be familiar with medical terminology and specialized vocabulary as required
  • Understand health care legislation
  • Be proficient in the use of computers including office software, medical record management software and dictaphones

QUALITIES

  • Sense of organization and responsibility
  • Active listening skills
  • Good communication skills
  • Tact and courtesy
  • Discretion
  • Eye for detail
  • Teamwork skills
  • Salary

CAREER PATH

In terms of career advancement, medical secretaries are unlikely to become doctors, for example. However, as medical secretaries, they can change environments or departments to work more directly with patients and do less administrative work. Similarly, they can exercise their management skills by heading up a team of secretaries.

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