Typists and secretaries provide clear and concise documents and records helpling our frontline healthcare professionals and other staff to support and care for NHS patients . 

Working life

As a typist, you'll use word processing systems to create a range of documents. These may be reports, letters, case notes, etc. If you work as an audio typist, you'll listen to dictated information dictated and type what you hear, turning it into a well-presented document potentiall in a variety of formats.

typist in the nhs

As a secretary, you'll usually work for a particular senior member of staff or group of staff. Or you may support the work of a particular department. As well as typing, including audio typing, you may:

  • arrange meetings
  • take minutes of meetings
  • manage diaries
  • deal with enquiries by phone and email
  • order stationery
  • keep a filing system
  • create and update spreadsheets and databases

Secretaries and typists work across the NHS, in clinical and non-clinical areas such as:

  • hospital departments and clinics of all types
  • GP surgeries and health centres
  • the headquarters of an NHS trust

As a secretary or typist, working on a ward or in a clinic or health centre, you'll have a lot of contact with patients and their relatives and carers. You will also have contact with healthcare professionals including nurses and doctors, including GPs or surgeons, for example. Other secretaries/typists may have little or no contact with patients, for example, those in headquarters. They work closely with admin staff and other members of the wider healthcare team.

Entry requirements, skills and interests

There are no set entry requirements for a secretary/typist. However, employers expect excellent keyboard skills. They are likely to ask for qualifications in typing or word processing. Employers also expect a good standard of literacy, numeracy and IT skills. They may ask for GCSEs or equivalent qualifications. You may be able to enter an apprenticeship through an administrative role and through further training and qualifications, progress to more senior secretarial or typing role.

Personal characteristics

As a secretary/typist, you'll need to:

  • work accurately and methodically
  • meet deadlines
  • use medical terminology
  • pay attention to detail
  • work in a team but use their own initiative
  • work with all types of people
  • be helpful and reassuring if dealing with patients and their families

Skills required

  • excellent keyboard skills
  • IT skills
  • good spelling and grammar
  • organisational skills

Training and development

You will get the training you need to do the job. This includes an introduction to the department, how to use the IT and phone equipment and the procedures to follow. You may also have training in customer care.

You may be offered the chance to take vocational qualifications such as those from:

Some secretaries/typists become members of AMSPAR or BSMSA. Both AMSPAR and BSMSA offer training, online forums and newsletters so staff can network with others doing the same type of work.

  • Administrative staff in the NHS are paid on the Agenda for Change (AfC) pay system. As a new entrant, working as a secretary/typist you would typically start on band 2 and could progress, with further training and qualifications to posts at bands 3 or 4, for example as a medical secretary. Secretaries/typists work standard hours of around 37.5 a week. In some jobs, this could involve early starts, evenings and weekends. Terms and conditions for staff working outside the NHS will vary

  • With experience, you could become a team leader, coordinating the work of a team of secretaries/typists. With further experience, you could become a manager, responsible for the staff in a department.

    Some secretaries/typists move into specialist roles such as medical secretary or PA. Others may move into areas such as finance, or health records.

    You may also have the opportunity to move into informatics, specialising in electronic data, or into IT.

  • If you're applying for a role either directly in the NHS or in an organisation that provides NHS services, you'll be asked to show how you think the NHS values apply in your everyday work. Find out more about NHS values.

    Most NHS trusts advertise their vacancies on NHS Jobs. Some of the current vacancies are below. 

    Find a vacancy

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