Medical Secretaries and Administrative Assistants

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Also known as:
Dental Secretary, Hospital Secretary, Psychiatric Secretary

ABOUT MEDICAL SECRETARY AND ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT CAREERS
Video transcript

Medical secretaries serve as administrative assistants in hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and in doctors' and dentists' offices. In addition to being familiar with all the standard secretarial tools, medical secretaries must be comfortable with the special terminology of medicine and pharmacology.

They must also be familiar with the billing procedures required by insurance companies and government programs like Medicare, as well as know what forms hospitals and labs require and how to complete them.

Medical records management may also be part of the job, as may medical transcription, ordering medical supplies, as making sure that an office library has the latest medical journals and publications.

The necessary training for this job is widely available. Technical schools typically award a certificate on the completion of a certain number of semester hours. Community and junior colleges offer more thorough two-year programs, leading to an associate's degree.

SNAPSHOT
Perform secretarial duties using specific knowledge of medical terminology and hospital, clinic, or laboratory procedures. Duties may include scheduling appointments, billing patients, and compiling and recording medical charts, reports, and correspondence.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
LOW
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
HIGH
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
Daily tasks

Perform various clerical or administrative functions, such as ordering and maintaining an inventory of supplies.

Answer telephones and direct calls to appropriate staff.

Operate office equipment, such as voice mail messaging systems, and use word processing, spreadsheet, or other software applications to prepare reports, invoices, financial statements, letters, case histories, or medical records.

Receive and route messages or documents, such as laboratory results, to appropriate staff.

Transmit correspondence or medical records by mail, e-mail, or fax.

Schedule and confirm patient diagnostic appointments, surgeries, or medical consultations.

Greet visitors, ascertain purpose of visit, and direct them to appropriate staff.

Compile and record medical charts, reports, or correspondence, using typewriter or personal computer.

Maintain medical records, technical library, or correspondence files.

MAIN ACTIVITIES
Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Performing Administrative Activities Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Scheduling Work and Activities Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Computers and Electronics Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Education and Training Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Mathematics Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
TOP SKILLS
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.