Medical Receptionist

By Angela McCarthy

The course

The medical receptionist qualification prepares people for administration positions at doctor's rooms, health centres and hospital administration departments.

Academy of Learning courses are different in that they have core courses with add-ons to fit specific needs.

So the medical receptionist qualification consists of core customer service and office skills with additional papers in medical terminology, medical office procedures and MedTech32, a specialised medical practice software package. This course usually takes about 15 weeks and has a strong practical base.

Fulltime students must attend 25 hours a week. Part-timers are expected to attend for 10 hours and do 10 hours study themselves. Students can choose when to study within the opening hours of the academy, which stays open until 8pm on Tuesday and Thursday and 1pm on Saturday. They work at their own pace using CD, audio cassette or flash media equipment and tutors provide one-on-one tuition as required.

Entry is open, but preference is given to students with some NCEA level-two grades or the equivalent. However there is also an entrance maths, comprehension and sentence structure assessment and sometimes extra papers are included to get students up to speed.

The academy has a continual enrolment approach with new students starting each Monday throughout the year.

The cost of the medical receptionist course has been reduced from $3837, including stationery and workbooks, to $2773 because some free online modules have replaced some papers. Business administration was $3995 but is now $2421. Fees are higher for international students.

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What graduates think

* Bronwyn Ahu
* Administration/support worker for Meningococcal Campaign
* Waitemata District Health Board, based at Waitakere Hospital
* 38 years old
* Graduated September last year
* Starting salary $15 an hour

I had been at university studying biomedical science but was finding it hard financially and decided I needed a qualification that would get me into a job quickly but keep me involved in the medical area.

I chose Academy of Learning because of their flexible approach. I would go in after I finished my morning job and stay until I picked up my two children from school. If they were sick I could study at home and ring in if I had questions.

The work is organised in booklets and you set your own targets. At the end of each book you do a pre-test and then an exam.

I did the medical receptionist course, then the business administration course by cross-crediting and doing a few extra papers. It took six to seven months.

I'd been doing some administration and accounts work for years and wanted a document that recognised that experience.

The course gave me a good understanding of medical terminology, which made me confident in the hospital administration environment. It also increased my self-confidence, improved my grooming and helped me recognise the skills I already had.

When I graduated, I got a temp outpatient clinic reception job at A+ through Alpha Personnel Recruitment, who put me on their books after I passed their office administration tests.

My present job is a seven-month fixed contract. It involves supporting the nurses, interacting with the children, and checking that the paperwork is all accountable to ensure a safe vaccination environment.

I will go back to my degree eventually but right now this qualification means I can work in my area of interest and earn reasonable money.

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What employers think

* Anne Sisam
* Team Co-ordinator
* Waitakere Hospital, Meningococcal Campaign.

Vaccinations can be very daunting for children so Bronwyn's role as a support worker to the nurses is invaluable. We required a range of skills, from helping children through the process to ensuring the administration side runs smoothly.

Documentation is very important and Bronwyn is in charge of ensuring consent forms are up to date in case follow-up is needed.

Bronwyn is one of the lead people in the team. She has come to us with strong administration and leadership skills and an understanding of health issues.

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* Medical Receptionist and Business Administration Qualifications (NZQA accredited)
* Academy of Learning NZ
* Ph 366 3900 or Freephone 0508 JOBTRAINING

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