Spare a thought for the secretaries
- By: Kerry Maxwell
Poorly paid and often overworked, you’ll find them, most likely, in the crumbling recesses of the hospital, struggling with ageing computers in offices piled high with patients’ charts. I have spent two summers working as a temporary medical secretary to help finance my medical degree. There are different types of medical secretary, but my job mostly involved typing up letters that had been dictated on tapes, filing letters and results in patients’ charts, storing radiographs, and sometimes answering the phone to anxious relatives or concerned general practitioners.
It can seem a strangely dislocated experience, bereft of much contact with the many patients whose intimate clinical examinations most of the day is spent writing about. In my less busy moments I occasionally wonder about Mr Smith, who’s having a scope on Thursday—what sort of person he is or what his life might be like. But for the most part the patients