Exploring this Job
The best way to learn about this career is to speak with an experienced medical secretary about his or her work. Create a list of questions in advance, such as what their education and training background is and what advice they have for people interested in this field. Ask your school counselor to set up an information interview with a medical secretary, or arrange a tour of a medical facility so you can see secretaries in action. You might also be able to land a part-time job at a medical office, which will allow you to obtain experience and interact with medical secretaries.
Doctors rely on medical secretaries to keep administrative operations under control. Secretaries are the information clearinghouses for the office. They schedule appointments, handle e-mails and phone calls, organize and maintain paper and electronic files, and produce correspondence for the office. Medical secretaries must have basic technical skills to operate office equipment such as facsimile machines, photocopiers, and telephone and voicemail systems. They use computers and various software programs to run spreadsheet, word-processing, database management, or desktop publishing programs.
Medical secretaries also transcribe dictation, prepare correspondence, and assist physicians or medical scientists with reports, speeches, articles, and conference proceedings. Medical secretaries also record simple medical histories, arrange for patients to be hospitalized, and order supplies. Most need to be familiar with insurance rules, billing practices, and hospital or laboratory procedures.