Receptionists in intake in community health

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Receptionists are employed as administrative assistants, but in Community Health Centres, especially rural ones, they are the first step in service delivery, the intake system. This has implications for the people seeking services and for receptionists. This paper looks at receptionist data from an intake study alongside relevant literature and makes findings relating to the occupational health and safety (OH&S) of receptionists and for intake systems.What is known about the topic? Little attention has been given to the role of receptionists in health services. What is known suggests that receptionists would benefit from training related to mental illness and communications skills. It also indicates benefits from involving receptionists in system review and planning.What does this paper add? This paper identifies convergence between four sources of literature (receptionists in health, emotional labour, work and health (the Whitehall studies), and workplace learning) and the experience of receptionists in community health.What are the implications for practitioners? There is potential for managers to take into account the receptionist role as the first point in intake and service delivery. The OH&S of receptionists can be protected by ensuring receptionists are resourced, supported in their role, and included in intake system development. The 'situated learning' used by reception could be supplemented by in house training. Attention to reception, the clients' first point of contact, has the potential to improve the engagement of and outcomes for people seeking services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-167
Number of pages4
JournalAustralian Health Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011


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