Receptionists are often the first person NHS patients see. They use customer service and admin skills to welcome people to a hospital, health centre, clinic or NHS headquarters.

Working life

As a receptionist, youre often the first person that patients meet when they go to a hospital, clinic or health centre. You’ll:

  • book patients in for appointments
  • enter patients’ details onto computer systems
  • direct patients where to go within the department or health centre

As well as dealing with patients face-to-face, receptionists often:

  • answer phones, sometimes directing calls to other staff through the switchboard or phone system
  • book appointments by phone
  • answer queries from patients and other staff

Patients and their relatives can be nervous or upset when they visit a hospital or clinic so as a receptionist, you may have to calm them down or reassure them. Some receptionists may combine the job with other admin duties, such as:

  • filing
  • chasing up reports
  • photocopying
  • inputting data
  • ordering stationery
  • word processing

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements to become a receptionist. Employers usually expect good literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. Employers often ask for relevant work experience. Even where this is not specified, it would be an advantage if you have worked in an admin or customer service role.