Creating the Right Impression


Creating the right impression is vital in any organisation.

Look around your working area and ask yourself

  • What improvements can be made?
  • Can you make the improvements?
  • Can my fellow members made the improvements?
  • Can the Practice make the improvements?


Not all improvements require expense. Improvements could be in various different ways and perhaps by just changing some of your Reception/Waiting area could vastly improve and give a better service to your patients.

A number of factors help create the right impression, including:


Have a look around your reception area. Is the layout satisfactory? Is there room for improvement? Does the reception area work well. Does it give your patients the confidentiality that they need? Can patients sitting in the waiting room hear conversations that you might be having on the telephone or at the front desk?

Can the patient seen your computer screen while they are standing at the reception desk?

It is impossible in some situations to avoid this from happening – especially in older buildings where often space is limited if this is the case you do need to review this and ensure that more care and attention is taken whilst talking on the telephone or at the front desk.


We could always do with more space. Look around you. Is everything where it should be? Look at things in your Reception area that are not used very often. Are there boxes stacked in a corner – ie boxes of repeat prescriptions, boxes of practice leaflets? Why not leave one box and store the others somewhere until they are needed. Quite often by just keeping your Reception area tidy will create a lot more space.


Have you got sufficient signs up in your Surgery? It is vital that you have the usual “fire exit” and “way out” signs, but it is also very important that you have adequate signs signposting patients to the right areas. Each room should be numbered or have the healthcare professionals name on. Toilets should be clear to see as well as areas that are out of bound to patients. The signs easy to read and placed in the appropriate places.

Many Surgeries these days are big buildings, they have several services going on throughout the day and often healthcare professionals can “share” rooms – which mean quite often the patient might be going to different rooms each time. Make sure you inform the patient when they arrive, or have some form of letting the patient know exactly which room they have to go to if  you don’t you will find that a patient could quite easily walk in on consultation already taking place. Dont take it for granted that the patient will know where they have to go.


Your waiting room should be a nice quite area for patients to sit. Piped music can sometimes help, especially if there is a possibility that they can hear the Reception staff. Some surgeries have a TV in their waiting room – remember not to have this playing too loudly and more importantly keep a close watch on what is being shown. Remember that there are young children in the waiting room and some things shown might not be suitable to them to watch.

It is important to remember that some people in the waiting room will be feeling unwell, they deserve quite where at all possible.


Who is responsible for ensuring that the Reception is kept tidy – is it always “left” for someone else to do it?

(Story of Four People

Everyone should take a fair share in ensuring that it’s kept tidy – discuss ways that you can improve on the space at your next Receptionists Meeting.

A surgery that I worked at the Receptionist that was working on a Saturday morning was responsible for having a tidy around – Saturdays were usually the least busy time. It was always nice to come into work on a Monday to find the Reception area nice and tidy.

Its amazing how a tidy work place can make you feel more positive.

Go to the other side of the Reception Desk – view it as the patient would view it. What do you see? Do you see a nice tidy Reception area – or do you see clutter? If you see clutter or rubbish it’s time to have a good tidy up.


As a Receptionist you are the ambassadors of your Practice. Along with a good clutter free Reception area a well-groomed member of staff makes a great difference.

Most surgeries these days have uniforms for their staff. Many are happy to go along with this; some would prefer to use their own clothes.

From a managers point of view it is so much easier to have the staff all dressed the same. It looks smart, and from a patients point of view staff are very easily identified.


Staff when on duty should remain professional at all times. There are times when situations can get out of hand and staff might have a difference of opinion. Words may be exchanged. But this should NEVER happen in the reception area. If you feel that situation is getting out of hand in the Reception area then take the members of staff into an area where it can be sorted – out of sight and hearing from the patients or anyone else waiting in the surgery.


Facial expressions can say so much. Never ever roll your eyes – even behind patient backs or while you are on the telephone whatever the reason – you never know who could be watching you and this only gives a wrong impression of not only you but the surgery.

Remember the sayings “turn that frowns upside down” and  “Smile and the world smiles with you”


Tone of voice is important – especially when speaking to someone over the telephone. Keep your tone light, friendly and helpful.


Posture is not only essential for your health it is important to have a good posture at work as it gives a good impression. No one likes to see someone “slumped” sitting at the desk. Quite often you will be sat or standing at the desk for several hours, having a bad posture will play havoc with your back.

Some tips for creating the right impression

  • Greet the patients pleasantly
  • Make eye contact
  • Use names – make them feel special
  • Give your full attention at all times
  • Show respect for the patients and your work colleagues
  • Be helpful
  • Be confident
  • Be positive
  • Be efficient
  • Be caring