A receptionist is a person whose main duty is to answer the telephone and greet customers. They are usually at a desk in the waiting area. A receptionist is the first person that the client will meet hence they are the ones that make the first impressions. Hence they need to have certain skills and personal qualities such as: 1. Friendly and approachable. This is because clients need to be able to communicate with the receptionist. Receptionists are a clients first impression of the company hence they need to portray a positive image.
2. Organisational skills. This is vital since you need to be able to give the right information about each person and any mistake can be serious. Being a receptionist involves ‘taking calls, receiving telephone, book meetings’. [Ref: http://www.get-uk-jobs.com].They need to be able to take down correct details and pass correct details to avoid conflict. Therefore, communication skills too are vital. 3. Focus to detail. This will disable any mistakes to occur which can slow down the running of the organisation for example if the contact details are incorrect or if the health details are incorrect which can lead to the doctor/nurse to prescribe wrong medicines which can be very harmful to health.
4. Ability to multi task. This is because being a receptionist involves doing more than one thing at once for example greeting customers and taking the telephone while keeping a calm and assertive attitude to portray a good image of the company. 5. Good IT skills for example knowledge of how to use Microsoft Office products e.g. Microsoft Excel. Computer skills are essential as everything is done on the computer for example booking appointments as it is quicker and more efficient than the traditional pen and paper approach hence basic IT skills such as using Microsoft Office products like Microsoft Excel is essential.
6. Good interpersonal skills. This is crucial as the receptionists primary job is to be calm, friendly and look professional to create a positive impact on the clients. 7. Ability to prioritise work load. This is important because there are certain tasks which have a higher priority than others for example sending blood test samples the hospital before the time is up. Ability to prioritise work load will mean that the GP surgery is run as smooth as possible and the job of the nurse or GP for example in a GP surgery is not delayed.
8. Able to offer long-term commitment. This is important because the patients will know the receptionist and form a close bond with them. They symbolise the organisation. If the receptionist does not offer long term commitment the patient will not be able to form a bond with the receptionist which will affect communication skills which will in turn portray the organisation such as a GP surgery in a negative light. 9. Non – judgemental. This is important because receptionists will meet different types of people and no one person will be like the other. Hence for receptionists it is vital for them to be open minded hence not be discriminatory and realise that people have different viewpoints.
10. Sensitive. This is important because the patient needs to feel that they can talk to the receptionist about any query they have. This helps the patient and portrays a positive image of the organisation such as a GP surgery. This develops strong bond between the patient and receptionist. 11. Able to be calm under pressure. Working as a receptionist pressure is a typical thing to be expected. Various tasks have to complete and patients need to be greeted. If the receptionist is not able to work under pressure they will portray a negative image of the organisation.
12. Able to be assertive. People do not like to wait they have many other important things on their mind. This is human nature. The way this impatience shows is by some patients being rude or aggressive. For example a patient might state that they want an appointment at the time they want and now. The receptionist being assertive will mean that they will give other options around their problem such as coming in as an emergency patient. This way they will act fairly and maintain order in the organisation. The appropriate skills can be acquired when studying for the course for example studying for the BSc degree in the case of the GP. Furthermore, skills can be acquired through experience and attending classes such as update classes which happen once a year.
I have conducted interviews with both the GP and Receptionist and this is the responses I have had. Interview with the Receptionist: My interview with the Receptionist who is 40 years old and been working at Dr. K Lahon surgery for 17 years has revealed that for to pursue the career of being a receptionist does not require any particular GCSE grades or qualifications but one skill that is compulsory for a receptionist to have, in this modern, industrial society is computer skills.
For example being proficient in Microsoft Office products such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Access and Microsoft Excel. The receptionist stated that has become proficient in using computers by doing a computer studies course for 2 months. The receptionist has gained most of her skills from the Computer Studies course and her skills are updated by her attending ‘updates’ which all the receptionists in the surgery have to go to. ‘Updates’ as the receptionist describes is a ‘training day where I like other receptionists have to go to every year to boost our skills and learn new skills’. There are special qualities an individual should have in order to do the job of a receptionist.
These are as stated in the interview ‘patience, knowledge of computer and basic scientific knowledge and friendly’. Additionally the interview with the receptionist has revealed that there are many advantages as well as disadvantages of being a medical receptionist in particular. The advantages as stated by the receptionist are getting a ‘good salary’ and the feeling of ‘helping in the efficient running of the surgery’.
The feeling of helping in the GP surgery boosts the self esteem and self image which overall contributes positively to the overall health and well being as the receptionist feels that she is contributing positively to the running of the GP surgery whose primary aim is to improve the health of people. However being a receptionist like any other job has its disadvantages. In the interview the main disadvantage of working as a receptionist but particularly a medical receptionist is the fact that ‘some patients can get very rude’. This happens when they ‘have to wait a long time or when they do not get an appointment they want’.
The receptionist stated that the patients do not realise is that it is not their fault and all they are trying to do is contribute to the smooth running of the GP surgery. There are many types of receptionist such as a medical receptionist and a receptionist who is part of an advertising firm hence different types of receptionist have different jobs and responsibilities. The jobs and responsibilities of a medical receptionist such as the medical receptionist I have interviewed are as stated ‘to make appointments for the GP and nurse, to print scripts and telephone patients about an appointment that they will need’ e.g. if the results of a blood test has arrived and finally ‘booking and cancelling an appointment’.
Since the medical receptionist who I have interviewed has been working at the GP surgery for so long (17 years) she has the experience which means that she can print the prescriptions and ask for the ‘GPs/nurse signature on them and sort out whom it belongs to’. The receptionist can do this extra responsibility because of the experience of working as a receptionist. Her duties inevitably help the patients.
Firstly she ‘telephones people about reports and book an appointment as it is necessary for them to see the nurse/GP’. This helps the patient because they are updated about their health by the telephone rather than going to the GP surgery which is easier thus more convenient. Secondly the receptionist ‘makes appointments and makes sure that the person sees the GP/nurse as close to their appointment time as possible’.
This makes it convenient for the patient as they can base the time around their schedule. Additionally if the ‘person is not here for their appointment time’ the receptionist tells the ‘next person to go’. This benefits both the surgery as it contributes to smooth and efficient running of the GP surgery and the patient as they do not have to wait that much. Hence, the receptionist as deduced from my interview is a valuable member of the GP surgery whose duties help the patients and contributes to the smooth and efficient running of the GP surgery.