A receptionist is a valuable asset to just about every organization within the healthcare industry. Most of the facilities that provide direct patient care employ individuals as receptionists and assign them many of the repetitive responsibilities associated with keeping the office running smoothly. Those who work in this profession can be found in hospitals, acute care clinics, long-term care facilities, doctors offices, and just about everywhere else. Several industry experts have projected that the need for receptionists will grow rapidly over the next few years as the population continues to expand, the number of retired baby boomers rises, and the expansion of healthcare coverage to the uninsured goes into effect. Individuals who plan to pursue employment in this field are encouraged to develop a basic appreciation for the tasks commonly included in the medical receptionist job description before submitting applications.
The bulk of receptionists day-to-day responsibilities revolve around helping patients prepare for their appointments with licensed providers and in supporting the efforts of more senior administrative staff members. This means that individuals can expect to be spending most of their time answering phones, taking voice messages, communicating with other employees, filing paperwork, submitting billing and insurance claims, welcoming clients, helping patients fill out forms, organizing office meetings, inputting information into the computer system, and performing miscellaneous activities. Additional tasks may be expected based on the unique needs of the employer, the types of patients being managed, and the qualifications of the receptionist. It is important to always inquire about and review the details of the employment contract before agreeing to work for a long period of time.
Aside from the technical requirements associated with becoming a successful receptionist, most job descriptions will include a section that outlines the character qualities necessary to become a productive and respected member of the patient care team. In general, an individual must have a compassionate and caring attitude as well as an aptitude for interpersonal communication. When dealing with patients, it is very important to display a genuine interest in the health and well-being of others. The healthcare sector is a service based economy that is heavily dependent on a positive patient experience for success. In addition to being able to appease patients, the receptionist needs to be able to work constructively with other members of the medical team.
Employment opportunities for the receptionist in the medical field are abundant and diverse. Facilities often range anywhere from small local clinics to large national organizations. Before beginning the job search process, it is very important to consider the type of environment in which one wants to work. A large establishment is likely to manage several hundred patients a day requiring that the receptionist take on more responsibility than might be required in a smaller office that manages less than 30 clients each day. Those working for large organizations may be allowed to focus on a few basic tasks because the employer can afford to divide tasks among several different departments and employees while a small office might need the receptionist to take on more responsibility due to a shortage of staff. The earning potential in each of these scenarios is likely to differ and it is important for applicants to take into account the suitability of an employment arrangement before signing a contract.
Individuals who are considering a career in this profession are well-advised to become very familiar with the tasks included in the standard medical receptionist job description before seeking employment. A detailed understanding of what is required to become successful will help prepare applicants for the interview process and will show administrators that an individual is enthusiastic about working hard to provide high quality care to patients. This approach may also help an applicant avoid the disappointment that comes from finding out that they wrong career path has been selected.