Clerical Officer, Out Patient Department (OPD)
What is your role?
I am responsible for the preparation and management of assigned outpatient clinics. A large number of patients (188,000 approximately) attend outpatient clinics on a daily basis and it is my job to maintain a high standard of patient care in my role as front line staff in Out Patients Department. Attending the hospital can be very stressful and worrying for patients and their families, therefore I do my best to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible, eg:
- Prepare for clinic set up to facilitate a timely start and to greet patients when they arrive.
- Patient details eg: (phone contact, GP details, medical card and health insurance) to be checked when they arrive to make sure all details are accurate and up to date.
- All relevant patient health records and referral letters are available on the day of the clinic.
- Liaising with nurse, consultant during clinic to deliver effective care to patients.
What does a typical working day look like?
Each outpatient staff member is assigned a roster. The roster outlines the OPD clinics for which you are responsible. Everyday consists of new deadlines and goals to meet.
All clinics are prepared one week in advance. As there maybe last minute additions; it is necessary to be flexible and adaptable to the situations as they arise.
My day starts at 8:00am. I am rostered to sit clinic in the morning or afternoon. The morning clinic is scheduled for 8:30 to 1:00, afternoon clinics are scheduled for 1:30 to 5:00, however clinics can run over time and this is covered on a rota basis.
Preparing clinic includes: Printing off the list of patients that are scheduled to attend the clinic, Retrieving Health records from medical records library and areas around the hospital, also request any health records that are stored off site. For all new patients coming to clinic a referral is needed, all referrals need to be collected the day before clinic and made sure all relevant letters are there. It is extremely important to prepare clinic before deadline, effectively and to the highest standard possible.
In clinic: always arrive in plenty of time to set up and begin clinic on time.
- Check in all patients to the system and ensure all details are correct
- It is important to stick to assigned appointment times
- Prepare health records and place in the queue for the Consultants
- Handle any queries within clinic eg. patient , nurse, consultants
- Make appointments for any follow up care needed by patient
- Complete clinic summary sheets for secretaries for further actions as required for some patients at clinic, eg follow up care, etc...
Proper input of all patient details is vitally important; this will help to ensure that follow up care is timely and effective.
The rest of my day will involve: Preparing the following days clinics, checking the extra work roster, if employee is absent or on annual leave, as their work load needs to be covered and all staff are assigned extra duties to achieve this.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I really enjoy working as part of a team, there is always a helping hand if needed, and working as a team allows me to feel supported in my job. Working in OPD can be very challenging and demanding but also very rewarding. It gives staff a fantastic overview of all services provided by the hospital. It plays a central role in patient care including services such as diagnostics, laboratories radiotherapy, minor procedures etc etc, as a result I have acquired a knowledge of these services across the hospital. Working in the OPD has given me great exposure to a wide variety of hospital services.
What level of patient care do you have in your role?
We are often the first person the patient will meet in the hospital when they attend for an appointment, they are often anxious about their visit and we, at all times, treat them with courtesy and respect , we strive to offer them a professional approach and therefore less stressful time at the clinic.
We are responsible for making the patients past medical history available to the consultant and there team, so that the most appropriate care for that patient can be provided. It can be a frightening time for patients and I can make their visit easier by assisting them through the Departments/Areas they may be required to attend during their visit.
What other member of the healthcare team do you work with?
As administrative staff we are part of a wider group involved in patient care:
The health care team can comprise of:
- Consultants / NCHD’s (Non Consultant Hospital Doctors)
- Nurse / Nurse Managers & Clinical Nurse Specialists
- Allied Health Professionals – Social worker / Psychologists / Physiotherapists/ Dieticians etc..
- Support Service / Porters / Housekeeping