Medical secretaries work at clinics and hospitals where their main job is to provide support to the staff of the facility. They answer phone calls, arrange patient appointments, perform filing and data entry work duties and assist doctors with medical procedures where necessary.
People applying for a job in this capacity need to possess some background in medicine even if it limited to knowledge of medical terminology. This is due to the fact that understanding the nature of this job and performing well in it requires one to understand the essence of it.
Take a look at some likely medical secretary interview questions along with appropriate answers.
On a typical day at work, what are your duties as a medical secretary?
I screen telephone calls and take and deliver messages along with scheduling appointments, making follow-ups and announcing scheduled patients and visitors. Another part of my work involves maintaining calendars, arranging meetings and conferences and travel details and providing limited education to patients regarding their diagnosis and treatments.
How do you manage irate patients?
When someone comes to a hospital, it is obvious that he or she is distressed. There is no need for me to make them even more so by being impolite. So I use a sympathetic approach and keep my temper in check.
How do you intend to manage the administrative side of this position?
I am comfortable with scheduling appointments and managing doctors’ calendars. I also possess the ability and the experience to deal with correspondence and manage medical research when needed.
Where do you see yourself in five years from now?
Eventually, I would like to train as a nurse and look for a job in this capacity.
How do you manage a particularly stressful day at work?
I try not to think about stress. If I keep myself busy in my work, I can ignore stress and do what is more important – work with patients to help them with their dilemmas!
As a medical secretary, what has been the most challenging part of your work up till now?
I have worked as a medical secretary for many years and have had things pretty much under control. There was one time when I was the sole medical secretary working at that time within a huge medical facility. During the floods of 2012, all roads had been blocked and I was the only one who managed to make it to work. And because of the emergency situation in the state, we received a lot of patients in the outpatient department and I had to coordinate things for every doctor on the unit. It was challenging and extremely nerve-wracking, but I am satisfied that I aced it without tripping once.
What skills do you believe a medical secretary needs to be successful in this work?
Apart from skills to handle general secretarial duties such as filing, typing, faxing, copying and telephone communications, it is important for medical secretaries to be well-versed in scheduling and coordinating diagnostic testing activities, function as a liaison between departments and be able to generate both special and regular reports according to provided instructions. Additionally, one needs to possess excellent time management and people skills, along with the ability to understand medical jargon and diagnostics.
As far as hospital admission are concerned, what do you think the role of a medical secretary is?
Depending on the facility in question, medical secretaries sometimes help with hospital admissions by either providing information about the admission process and referring to an admissions clerk, or assisting with admission paperwork themselves.
What activities, apart from clerical or administrative, have you performed as part of your job as a medical secretary?
At my last place of work, I was given the responsibility of sending patient samples for testing purposes and following up on results. Additionally, I was also responsible for monitoring the office budget to ensure that all procurement activities were performed within the given financial plan.
Why do you think you are a good choice to work for a medical facility such as Emory Healthcare?
I have worked in hospitals where high volume work is a norm, just like it is at Emory Healthcare. I am aware of the challenges that working at such a positions pose and I am trained in handling them effectively. Furthermore, I am meticulous at my work, possess deep insight into secretarial work particular to a large medical facility and can work on a rotating shift.