Medical secretaries play a very important role in making sure that a clinic is efficient, organized, and calm. But their job goes beyond paperwork and inventory.
They are the bridge between the doctor and the patient, and their demeanor can make a big difference in the customer experience.
If you are applying for the job of a medical secretary, you need to show your employer that you have both the experience and the personality to handle these tasks.
So aside from checking your background and skills, the medical secretary interview questions often provide scenarios that check your response to common problems that can happen at a clinic.
Here is a great video about the day of the life of a medical secretary that you might want to watch before heading to the questions and answers.
Medical Secretary Interview Questions and Answers
Employers are looking for a medical secretary who has proven:
- administrative skills (including familiarity with software, medical transcriptions, and insurance/billing claims),
- interpersonal skills,
- and knowledge of basic medical terms.
See also: Medical Administrative Assistant Interview Questions
As you answer the interview questions, you can mention specific work experiences, such as the types of medical software you have used or the roles you played in your last job.
1. Do you know how to use medical software?
Most clinics use some kind of electronic system for handling patient records and medical records.
However, some will also have one for booking appointments or telemedicine.
Talk about what experience you’ve had with the software they use. If you are not familiar with it, explain why you would be able to learn it quickly.
I have been a medical secretary for seven years, and in most of my jobs, we used software to store patient information and book their next appointment.
While we used a different program from what your clinic currently uses, I know I will be able to learn it quickly since they will have similar functions.
2. What skills do you have that would make you a good choice for this job?
Aside from mentioning your experience, be sure to talk about your personality traits and give an example of how you used them to solve a problem or make the clinic more efficient.
Since most applicants will have similar technical skills and backgrounds, your “soft skills” are more important.
I have good communication skills, which helps me take good notes for the doctor and explain things to the patients and their families.
I also get along easily with people and am able to diffuse conflict quickly, which has been very useful when I meet difficult patients.
See also: Medical Consultant Interview Questions
3. How familiar are you with medical terms?
Knowledge of medical terms is important for accurate doctor’s notes, handling insurance claims, or answering patients’ questions.
Review any notes you have on common terms used in your job, and inject them into your answer to this question to show your familiarity.
I became very familiar with medical terms in my last job, where I would transcribe the doctors’ notes, and then add the information to our electronic system.
To make sure everything was accurate, I would look up any terms I didn’t know.
My last clinic also had specialists from various fields, which also helped me develop a wider medical vocabulary.
See also: Medical Office Assistant Interview Questions
4. How would you handle a patient who is upset or angry?
Patients and their families may be stressed, worried, or even in physical pain.
This can often make them more irritable and emotional, and it is not uncommon for someone to complain.
When you answer this question, show how you are able to empathize with the patient and resolve the situation in a calm but efficient way.
In one instance, the doctor was running late so there was a backlog of patients.
I offered refreshments to all of them, and most were willing to wait.
However, one patient demanded to be put first in line.
I explained why that was not possible, and helped rebook her appointment to a more convenient time.
5. What information would you give the doctor about a patient who has returned for a follow-up appointment?
This question reveals your knowledge of what the doctor needs, and how you can organize information to save time and minimize confusion.
My patient’s note would include the patient’s full name and date of birth, the diagnosis and notes from earlier appointments, and why they have returned for a visit.
I would also provide other relevant details such as the results from lab tests.
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6. What would you do if a doctor is suddenly unavailable to meet the patients?
Employers will ask questions like this to see your problem-solving skills.
As you answer it, provide different possible plans of action.
It shows you are able to think of alternatives in case one plan doesn’t work out, or how you would anticipate the patient’s needs or questions.
I will ask about his next available time, and who he would recommend the patients would see – such as another doctor, or his resident – if they wanted to see someone right away.
That way, I can give the patients the choice to rebook the appointment or to talk to another physician.
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7. What do you think is the best way to communicate with patients to avoid misunderstanding?
Poor communication with patients can lead to bad experiences that reflect on the doctor and the clinic.
In this question, show the steps you will take to sound clear, concise, and approachable.
When I speak to patients and their families, I use simple layman’s terms instead of medical jargon.
If there is a lot to remember, or the information is complicated, I write down a list for them to refer to later on.
I also make sure to ask them if they have any questions and write down the clinic number so they know where to call if they want to clarify something.
8. What other skills do you have that will give you an advantage over other applicants?
This question is often asked to give you an opportunity to share other unique training, skills, or experiences that would help you do your job.
Aside from my experience as a medical secretary, I also have training in emergency aid such as CPR so I can respond quickly to an emergency until the doctor arrives.
I am also fluent in Spanish, which can help with communicating with patients who do not use English as their first language.
See also: Lead Medical Assistant Interview Questions
How to Prepare for Medical Secretary Interview Questions
Before the interview, do your research on the clinic, such as the type of specializations they have or the patients they see.
It can help you anticipate the kind of scenarios they will give you, or the skills they are looking for.
Review medical terms, and brush up on your knowledge of common medical software.
Finally, think of what examples you would give from your previous work experience.
It is better to give concrete stories that prove your ability, rather than generalized answers.
Conclusion: Interview Questions for Medical Secretary
These questions can help you prepare for your interview and show that you are a competent medical secretary.
During the interview, remember to smile and remain calm because these are exactly the personality traits that they need for someone in their clinic!
The way you answer is just as important as what you answer.
Good luck with your upcoming interview!
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