Clinics and medical centers do not operate with one individual, but rather need an integrated work team. This team includes doctors, a nursing team, and also secretaries. Things may happen in the clinic or medical center that lead to patients dropping out, or the marketing not achieving its goals, or harming the clinic’s reputation, or vice versa . Clinics and medical centers succeed and flourish if the entire team has the necessary competence. In this article, we review the role of a very important element for a doctor’s success, which is secretaries or assistants. How does their role affect the success or failure of your practice?
The difference between a secretarial and a nursing team
There may be confusion between the role of nursing and secretarial (in this article we refer to administrative assistants separately from nursing as secretarial, secretary, secretary, or assistant), and this confusion is normal and understandable for the public to occur, but it is a mistake that the doctor should not make, as the doctor knows that a professional It is technical work, not administrative, and requires technical skills and special study. While administrative assistants, or secretaries, are administrative, not technical, work that require social and administrative skills and the ability to deal with the public differently.
In this table we explain the difference between professional nurses and administrative (secretarial) assistants:
Tasks of the professional nursing team
Doctor’s secretarial duties
The nurse may be present for some operations, helps keep the patient in the appropriate position for the operation or examination, and keeps a record of the operation or procedure performed by the doctor.
The nurse may also be one of the patient’s companions during the pelvic or prostate examination, and therefore the presence of nurses in the clinic or medical center contributes to raising the efficiency of the place, especially if the nurse is familiar with his duties.
Doctors are busy all day long dealing with patients in the hospital and clinic, which requires organizing appointments with patients who book a private appointment in his clinic, and this is the first task of a secretarial.
The secretariat maintains a regular appointment schedule and organizes the clinic’s work at all times. So that patients do not get bored of waiting long hours in the clinic before presenting to the doctor, these organizational matters that may seem simple are extremely important. So that the patient will visit you again.
Another role of the secretariat is to send appointment reminders to patients who have previously booked, and this makes the patient feel that the doctor is definitely interested in him, or to make adjustments to the appointment if a problem arises with the doctor that delays him from arriving at his clinic on time. So that the patient does not wait long.
Patient rooms should be disinfected and rearranged between each visit, and this task falls on the nursing team if the topic requires their technical skill. He changes the bedding and sterilizes all areas in the room between each appointment and the next.
It is also the task of the nursing team to sterilize the tools that the doctor uses during the examination or surgical intervention. For some tools, routine cleaning is not sufficient, but rather they need to be placed in a sterile container without becoming contaminated.
This, of course, requires that the physician assistant be an expert in this field, otherwise the patient will be exposed to an infection when visiting the doctor, and this will give the patient a bad impression of the medical center or clinic. Therefore, the assistant should be carefully selected and constantly trained.
Answering phone calls:
The secretariat is responsible for answering incoming phone calls to the clinic, and answering all questions asked, whether general questions about the clinic, its location, and working hours, or specific medical questions (if the secretariat is a specialist).
The secretariat also receives complaints from patients who previously came to the clinic, or who did not receive appropriate treatment. These complaints should be referred to the doctor in order to know the deficiencies in dealing with patients, and to ensure that treatment is improved later. So that patients do not flee from the clinic, or its reputation becomes worse later.
Drawing blood samples:
The doctor may need to draw a sample of the patient’s blood, even if he is not available for this matter, or if the work system requires the presence of nurses for this procedure, then this is their job; Blood samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis to detect nutrient deficiencies, infections, or to diagnose anemia or other disorders detected by a blood test.
Managing financial affairs:
The secretariat obtains payment data from each patient, and also collects the clinic’s financial revenues directly from patients. One of the secretarial’s tasks is to inform the doctor of cases in which it is impossible to pay the costs of the medical visit. So that the doctor can see the appropriate option with them.
As for the secretariat on its own to reject any difficult cases, or similar matters, this may weaken the clinic’s standing, and the reference in all of this is to the doctor. Therefore, the doctor should choose a secretary who will cooperate with him and adhere to his instructions to the letter. So that the clinic’s reputation is not affected, especially with the presence of other competitors.
It may not be one of the main roles of nurses to administer intravenous injections, but it may be allowed with certain restrictions in some clinics and medical centers, while other clinics prohibit it completely, and the reference in this is to the doctor and the extent of his knowledge of the experience of his assistant.
Some patients may need imaging tests such as X-rays or CT scans, and sometimes they may need to be seen by another specialist at another health facility. Coordinating these referrals is the secretarial’s job; It provides the patient with correct information about the location of the medical facility and may book an appointment there.
This facilitation in the work of the clinic or medical center makes patients always look forward to working with you. He did not have to bother searching for a radiology center, for example, or another specialized clinic, or a medical facility specialized in his illness. Rather, communication and everything was done through you or through the secretariat, and nothing remained. The patient must only visit the health facility to which you referred him.
Collecting urine and stool samples from patients is one of the nursing tasks, as these samples are sent to the laboratory for analysis, to detect health problems that the patient suffers from.
Communication with patients:
Patients contact the secretariat first and foremost; Therefore, she should be qualified to communicate well with patients, and possess the necessary skills to deal with them without harming the reputation of the clinic or the doctor. This helps in building a good relationship with patients from the beginning, and makes them look forward to visiting the doctor whose employees treated them well before they even saw him.
Sometimes communicating with some patients requires intelligence, dreaminess, and not being hasty or emotional. Therefore, the qualities of a secretary are not limited only to the ability to deal with administrative matters, but it is preferable for her to possess qualities that qualify her to deal with all types of patients with different characteristics.
Wound care and post-operative follow-up:
One of the main tasks of the nursing team, especially in the field of surgery, is to monitor and care for the patient’s wound, and to constantly change the medical bandages or bandages on him. To protect the wound and prevent infection of the patient.
Helping the doctor with marketing:
The doctor may not be aware of all the patients’ needs, and his work with them is summed up in diagnosing and choosing the appropriate treatment, and this is normal because it is his job, but before patients enter the doctor’s room for examination, he deals with the secretarial first, and he may complain about some things in the clinic (this is the case with some Patients) such as a long waiting period, or high temperature and not working fans or air conditioners, for example.
If these complaints do not reach the doctor one way or another, patients will continue to prefer other clinics over his clinic, even if he follows a correct marketing strategy that attracts patients to him. The point is not only in attracting patients, but in the continuity of dealing with him and their complete satisfaction with the visit.
The secretariat also receives complaints via telephone calls, and these complaints may sometimes relate to the nature of the doctor’s dealings with patients, and these complaints should also be reported to the doctor. To consider it and make the necessary adjustments to the clinic or his behavior with patients; So that they do not pass it on to other doctors.
Also, some patients may come to the clinic to ask about certain therapeutic or diagnostic techniques that may not be available in the doctor’s office, and the secretary is the one who receives this, and then informs the doctor about this matter. To provide the necessary technologies and create marketing and advertising campaigns for the clinic about the availability of these modern technologies that patients asked about.
How to make the team of assistants the reason for the success of the clinic
Unless the physician assistant is competent to perform his duties, your medical center may not succeed in providing the service that the patient hopes for . The secretarial is the face of the clinic, as it is the first thing the patient encounters when he enters the door of your clinic, and although its tasks are primarily administrative and organizational; However, the way the secretariat deals has a significant impact on attracting or repelling patients from your clinic, and therefore administrative efficiency alone is not the criterion for the success of the secretarial role or not. There are a number of important steps that the doctor must take so that the team of assistants is the reason for the success of the clinic.
Choose them well and follow up consistently
The selection of technical assistants (nursing) depends on precise skills in clinical practice, such as: the ability to draw blood samples, care for a patient’s wound after operations, or sterilization. The doctor may choose an assistant who is incompetent in some or all of these tasks, which may make the doctor’s efforts with the patient in vain. Because of the mistakes the helper will inevitably make.
You must also check the certificates and experience provided by applicants to work in the clinic or medical center. The assistant may not have a reputable certificate that qualifies him to work in your clinic, and this certainly exposes patients to a great risk to their health, and mistakes are always expected in clinical dealings with them, and thus The assistant must be a specialist who has obtained a recognized certificate confirming his competence to deal with patients.
Another important aspect is experience in the same field, if possible. You may be a specialist in eye, obesity, or orthopedic surgery, and whatever your specialty is, the assistant may not have appropriate quality in the same specialty of your work, and therefore it is preferable to choose an assistant whose specialty is close to yours, or At least he has experience, for example, with a previous doctor in the same medical specialty as you. This certainly applies to the nursing staff and preferably also to administrative (secretarial) assistants.
It is a major mistake for a doctor not to train his assistants on good medical treatment of patients, or to care for them properly, which leads to a decline in the quality of service provided to the patient in the clinic or medical center. It is natural for the secretary to be trained to deal well with patients, as she is the face of the clinic, and to be patient with patients. Some secretaries may need training in some communication skills and dealing with others, and ignoring such a matter may make the patient have a bad experience in your clinic.
The secretary is not only the organizer of appointment schedules or the collector of money from patients, but the most important job of all is dealing well with patients. She is the first to meet them, and she is the one who deals with them all the time, and sometimes more than the doctor, and thus the doctor may be chosen. There is a secretary who is not good at dealing with patients and does not have effective communication skills, which weakens the doctor’s chances of continuing to deal with the patient in the future.
Motivation and interest in financial and psychological appreciation
Any human being needs constant stimulation; In order to give his best in his field of work, and assistants and secretaries are not an exception. If they do not receive the appropriate moral and material stimulation, they may not perform their jobs to the fullest extent, and this is certainly reflected in their dealings with patients. Therefore, the biggest mistake is not to motivate your supporting team from time to time.
Sometimes a doctor makes a mistake by mistreating assistants or secretaries, such as disdaining them, or mocking them or their performance in the clinic. This makes them constantly tense, and the tension must be released, even after a while, and then it may emerge in the form of bad treatment with patients, or Not paying enough attention to them; Therefore, the doctor should treat his technical and administrative assistants well.
Financial appreciation is also important. If the salary that the assistant or secretary receives is not enough to meet his living requirements, he may become bored with working in the clinic, or seek to work extra time in other places, which will inevitably affect his efficiency when working in your clinic. Because he does not find enough time to rest; Therefore, the doctor must constantly provide lucrative salaries to his assistants if he wants to provide good service to patients.
Follow, follow, follow
Even if the assistant is an expert in his field, the doctor must follow up with him and supervise his performance from time to time, and evaluate his mistakes so that he does not make them in the future.
Therefore, not following up on the assistant’s performance may cause him to make medical errors, such as not caring for the wound properly, and this greatly affects the degree of care that the patient observes in the clinic or medical center. The secretary also needs follow-up from the doctor; To evaluate her dealings with patients, and whether they are receiving good treatment or not. The lack of follow-up by the doctor may lead to the secretary dealing with patients in some situations in an inappropriate manner, which causes them to alienate themselves from the clinic. Therefore, the doctor must monitor from a distance and intervene if necessary.
The most important specifications necessary to work as a secretary in a clinic or medical center
The assistant should not be devoid of some skills that enable him to perform his task with the doctor. In addition to his essential clinical skills, it is preferable for him to also possess the following skills:
- Analytical skills: The administrative assistant must be able to think critically and analyze the data available to him. For example, he reviews the patient’s medical history, which will help him understand the patient’s condition more deeply, and be more able to understand what the doctor is aiming for in treatment.
- Fast learners: Although most assistants receive high-quality training, some of them are faster learners than others, and this speed certainly enhances their professional competence and achieves the highest quality medical service for the patient in your clinic.
- Effective communication: Effective communication is one of the pillars of success with patients. The secretary should be able to communicate with patients, as they are responsible for informing them of the results of analyzes and tests, as well as the doctor’s directions before or after operations. They should also be keen on the patient’s comfort, show sympathy for him, and communicate With him without feeling condescending or arrogant on the part of the assistant or the doctor.
- Computer skills: An administrative assistant working with electronic health records requires a fair amount of computer experience; So, doctor, make sure that your assistant has this skill. To accurately record your patient information.