Administration assistant / clerical officer, Swanage Hospital, Dorset

View Career details
“My role involves plenty of general clerical duties: letters and phone calls regarding appointments etc, I also have computer and word processing skills and I often end up helping matron with her records and spreadsheets.”

What do you do?

I am part of the team dealing with all the clerical and administration duties at a lovely local hospital here in Dorset. It's a small place - we have one ward with 15 beds - but most of my admin work is looking after the outpatients who come in for appointments. We have 24 different consultants who run clinics here throughout the week. I have to 'pull up' and prepare the medical notes on each patient ready for their consultation, maybe pooling records from various sources, and then make sure all the information is kept up to date. We still use folders of paper files; sometimes I'm staggering about with huge piles of records!

What is your typical day?

I also run the reception for each clinic, which I really enjoy: meeting and greeting the patients and making new appointments for them. We have a 'choose and book' system which seems to work quite well. When the patient's GP refers them to a consultant, they are given a phone number to call directly to us. We can arrange the next available appointment to suit them.

My working day starts in the general office at the hospital. I have plenty of general clerical duties: letters and phone calls regarding appointments, lots of photocopying, ordering stationery - that sort of thing. I have computer and word processing skills and I often end up helping matron with her records and spreadsheets. There is also a surprisingly large amount of thank you letters to write. Many people make donations to support our little hospital and we also get sent quite a lot of flowers that have been left over from funeral services. Rather than waste them, they are sent here to brighten the place up.

In the afternoons I am running the consultant's clinics where I sometimes have to use my best 'people skills'. Some patients get angry and upset if they can't have the exact appointment they want, sometimes their only option is a clinic at another hospital. It's challenging to try and talk to them and explain things, but really satisfying when you can help them find the best solution to their problems.