To ordinary people visiting or calling in to a hospital, a hospital switchboard operator seems to be doing mundane work. In actuality, these people are wholly responsible for all the communication that goes on in a hospital. Hence, these people probably have the most important job within a medical facility.
When you enter a hospital, you will either be greeted by a front desk operator or a hospital switchboard operator, depending on the specific front desk arrangements of the facility. These people are responsible for answering telephone calls, taking messages, transferring calls and ensuring that emergency services are coordinated in accordance to the nature of emergency.
Hospital switchboard operators need to be extremely diligent as they are technically responsible for patient’s lives. They need to be able to listen intently, determine nature of call and see if the call must be transferred to the required staff member – or if it can be handled at tier 1. They screen calls to ensure authenticity and make sure that any messages are communicated to the correct recipients in a time-efficient manner.
Working as a hospital switchboard operator requires you to possess a high school diploma at the very least. If you have some experience handling PBXs and intercom and paging systems, your candidature becomes stronger. On a typical work day at a hospital switchboard, you will be performing some or all of the following duties:
• Greet patients and visitors as they arrive at the hospital front desk and ask how they would like to be assisted
• Provide required information in person and direct visitors / patients to appropriate staff members or departments
• Set up and maintain complex communication systems such as PBXs, intercoms and public address systems
• Take telephone calls and respond to inquiries aimed at hospital services and procedures
• Transfer telephone calls to intended recipients after screening them properly
• Arrange for appropriate emergency services by paging relevant medical staff members
• Make outgoing calls on requests of hospital staff members
• Answer queries pertaining to admitted patients by following strict confidentiality protocols
• Perform clerical duties such as typing and proofreading important documents
• Arrange for meetings with doctors and other staff members
• Provide relay services, specifically TDD, for hearing impaired callers
• Coordinate efforts with housekeeping staff to ensure proper and constant cleanup of front desk and surrounding areas
• Create and maintain logs of incoming and outgoing calls on a daily basis
• Operate paging systems and intercoms to communicate with medical staff during emergency services