Level up with an industry relevant online course for as little as $25 per week

The key traits of a medical receptionist – is it right for me?

People often underestimate the job of a medical receptionist. However, it is one of the most important roles in terms of patient satisfaction and the overall smooth running of an institution. This is because a medical receptionist is often the first face patients are greeted with upon entering. 

As patients could be coming in for a first-time procedure, nerve-wracking test results, or even supporting a friend or loved one who is facing illness, it is therefore imperative for this first face to be a friendly and welcoming one. 

Hospitals and medical centres are already daunting and overwhelming places, and having someone greet you with a smile and a friendly manner can make a world of difference to a patient’s experience. 

If this role sounds like something that appeals to you, then hang tight. In this blog, we will take you through a more detailed medical receptionist job description outline and how to go about entering this field of work.

What does being a medical receptionist entail?

The clue is in the name, ‘medical reception’ – to receive someone in a medical setting. Receiving and welcoming patients, taking down their information and pointing them in the right direction with clear instructions is key to the job of a medical receptionist. 

They are the people that keep waiting rooms organised, appointments in check and accounted for, and ensure that the appropriate information is communicated to whoever requires it. 

Without them, it would be clinical chaos.

Apart from meet and greet, what do medical receptionists do? We are glad you asked…the answer is SO many things!

Here’s an overview of a medical receptionist’s typical responsibilities:

  • Schedule appointments – taking down appointments and keeping a clear and organised schedule of all patient appointments, often in various departments, is one of the biggest demands of a medical receptionist.
  • Process documents and data – medical receptionists deal with a LOT of paperwork, both written and electronic. And so a keen eye for keeping on top of the information of a multitude of patients and departments is paramount to running things smoothly.
  • Maintaining up-to-date patient information – changes of address, allergy or illness statuses, medications; all these things and more can require us to update our medical records. And it is the job of a medical receptionist to ensure that these changes are correctly noted and processed into patient records.
  • Type up doctors’ notes from sessions – another job that medical receptionists can require is transcribing session notes written by doctors or nurses. These will be typed up and entered into a patient’s medical file for clearer insight into past sessions and diagnoses.
  • Patient reminders and follow-ups – you know those little text or email reminders that you get when you have an appointment coming up? Well, that is likely the work of a medical receptionist, aiming to ensure that patients turn up to their appointments so as to avoid wasted time or opportunities for patients on a waiting list.
  • Connect multi-line calls through to the appropriate departments – hospitals, in particular, are usually large in size and thus have many, many departments. Receptionists are the first port of call to put you through to the correct department, making sure you get to speak to the relevant people for your enquiry.
  • Deal with complaints, issues and enquiries – receptionists will manage complaints, issues, enquiries and requests raised by patients and the public alike, contacting the relevant departments to follow up on these issues and try to resolve them to the best of their ability. Medical reception can be challenging at times, and our US neighbours over at Micro MD outline some of the biggest challenges that medical receptionists face on the job.
  • Maintain waiting area hygiene – particularly since the 2020 covid-19 pandemic, this has been of the utmost importance. Many medical receptionists will also still enforce the use of face masks in hospitals and doctor’s surgeries to protect more vulnerable patients.
A medical receptionist's typical responsibilities infographic

Key traits of a medical receptionist

  • Professionalism, whilst still being friendly – making patients feel at ease in an overwhelming medical environment should be top priority. Patients will be facing all manner of challenges, so making the practical and administrative side of their visit as easy and clear as possible can make a huge difference.
  • Confidentiality – a considerable amount of highly private information will be seen and processed by medical receptionists, and they have a responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of patients and appropriate data handling of their information.
  • Clerical and administrative abilities – medical receptionists must be extremely knowledgeable and adept at using computers, phones and other technologies, as well as a clear and thorough understanding of admin processing and the chosen procedures of their institution.
  • Good levels of medical knowledge and jargon – it is beneficial for medical receptionists to maintain good medical knowledge and jargon. This makes it easier to communicate with physicians and other members of various departments, as well as point patients in the right direction for their condition or needs.
  • Organised and reliable – organisational skills and reliability are extremely important qualities to possess as a medical receptionist. A considerable amount of information will be passed your way, which must be kept orderly and efficiently processed. Medical receptionists must also be adept at multitasking, as desks can get hectic with phone calls and paperwork and in-person patient requests.
  • Problem-solving and critical thinking – times may call for some critical thinking or problem-solving skills in such a hectic work environment, and therefore a medical receptionist must be a quick thinker who is good at coming up with multiple solutions to a singular issue in the hopes of achieving the best outcome for all.
  • Excellent communication, listening and social skills – whether it is speaking directly to patients at the front desk or communicating via phone or email, excellent communication and social skills are a must. Putting patients at ease, helping them with appointments or queries, of remaining calm whilst receiving complaints or negative feedback, and knowing how to communicate with people and diffuse tensions is an invaluable skill for anyone in a front-facing administrative position.
  • Calm in a crisis – healthcare institutions are, by nature, places of action and, at times, emergencies. All staff must know how to keep calm should a crisis or emergency arise and stay calm and clear-headed to efficiently carry out appropriate procedures to ensure the safety of both patients and staff.
Key traits of a medical receptionist

Think you’re cut out for the job of a medical receptionist?

Think you’ve got the stuff to be the front person of a healthcare institution?

Okay then – let’s get you kitted out!

Medical reception courses or other administrative courses are required in order to pursue this line of work. We have a host of administrative courses in our Small Business, Admin and Reception department which could help start you off on the road to reception success. However, if you have found yourself reading this particular blog, our medical receptionist course could be just the ticket.

Medical reception courses online will equip you will the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in a career working front of house in the healthcare industry, giving you all you need to know about administration and clerical tasks, computer and phone usage, dealing with patients, medical receptionist pay and medical receptionist salary, and much more.

Ours is one of the most comprehensive medical reception short courses on the market, each of our courses comes with a downloadable brochure with further information and guidance on course free payment plans, course content and modules, as well as how we work using our online learning systems.

So what are you waiting for? Enrol today and discover your potential.


Need help?

Ask us about our courses, or get help with your existing course

Are you a Learning Online student?

Have a question about your course?

Check out our Help desk. We cover topics like;


Enrol now!

Fill in the form below and one of our career advisors will get in touch

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.