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Ward Clerks, Receptionists and Administrative Assistants' Conference

  • : Brisbane City QLD 4000


You - as a ward clerk, receptionist or administrative assistant - are vital to the effective running of a unit in any healthcare setting. You have to deal with disgruntled people, know your legal boundaries and have exceptional communication skills. So isn’t it about time you were supported with education to help you perform what is becoming an ever more difficult job? Attend this conference and learn about:

  • What can you legally say on the phone?
  • What are the risks to you personally if you incorrectly label or file patient records?
  • How to respond calmly to patient complaints
  • Practical ways of de-escalating aggressive behaviour
  • Where do you start and stop? - Knowing your boundaries
  • Getting off the stress merry-go-round


 Print Schedule

Day One



Dean King

Healthcare Is Changing - How Will This Affect You?

Major changes in health are underway. This will be affecting you now but more so in the future. The patient is increasingly in the centre of care around which the inter-disciplinary team moves. Effective coordination of this is critical. This may cause a re-think of the way work is done. As you hold an essential place in the health team this introductory session will consider what these changes will look like and what it could mean to you in the future. Includes:

  • What has changed in healthcare recently and what is on the horizon?
  • Why is there now more of an emphasis on the patient?
  • How will these changes affect you working within healthcare setting?


Sue de Muelenaere

CXR, CT or CTPA? A Basic Guide to Health Literacy

When you first worked in this role you may have wondered where you were with all the different medical terms and abbreviations used. Understanding medical terminology and the use of abbreviations can be utterly confounding but are essential. Ignorance is not bliss in this fast paced environment. This session demonstrates how basic knowledge and an understanding of medical terms matter. Includes:

  • Gobbledegook or essential - why you must have a basic level of medical terminology?
  • Medical terminology - tips from the field
  • How to get the most out of online searches to find the answers you need
  • Other helpful resources to build your knowledge and confidence



Kathy Ahern

Boundaries - Where Should I Draw the Line?

In your workplace, boundaries are invisible lines that somehow you need to be aware of. If you step over them, you do so at your peril. Yet, a lack of clear, established boundaries can leave many feeling overwhelmed and lead to role confusion. This session will look at boundaries and why they are important. Questions to be answered include:

  • Why is maintaining boundaries with patients, other staff and members of the public so important?
  • What are the consequences of breaching them?
  • How do I know a boundary has been crossed?
  • Examples of healthy boundaries vs unhealthy boundaries
  • How to establish and maintain strong boundaries


Kathy Ahern

The Art of Assertive Communication

We all have problems getting our point across at times. However, there are likely to be constant barriers that prevent your voice from being heard. These barriers can cause undue stress to you as well as significantly affect a patient who may be quite unwell. This session will give you information about how to communicate assertively and not cross the line into aggressive behaviour. It will be highly interactive. Includes:

  • How does poor communication cause stress and confusion?
  • The art of speaking up - how to get the support that you need
  • Tips for being to be assertive but not aggressive
  • Why being assertive is the key to feeling valued
  • Realistic scenarios to practice being assertive but not aggressive



Andrew Blythe

Safe Use of Language in the Workplace

The appropriate use of language is imperative in healthcare. It can shape, make or break interactions with patients, colleagues and members of the public. The sheer amount of communication expected of you means this is a prerequisite to your skill set. This session looks at the power of words and will consider:

  • What is considered ‘safe’ use of language in healthcare settings?
  • How important is tone?
  • What is inappropriate language and what must be avoided at all times?
  • Multicultural considerations - key elements for success


Anne Garrahy

Privacy and Confidentiality - No Shades of Grey

There are legal boundaries concerning privacy and confidentiality in healthcare. Transgressing these boundaries may cause unnecessary exposure to risk. This session will inform you clearly of the law in regard to privacy and confidentiality. It will consider:

  • An overview of the legal principles governing privacy and confidentiality
  • What legal information you need to know about handling a patient's confidential information
  • What is the legal scope of practice relating to these areas?



Anne Garrahy

What Happens When Things Go Wrong? - A Discussion of Legal Case Studies and Scenarios

Whilst the importance of respecting privacy standards and patient confidentiality is acknowledged, complex situations can arise that may leave you confused and unsure of your legal situation. This final session of day one will open up discussion by using a range of highly relatable case studies and scenarios to help you think through tricky situations. Includes:

  • ‘To Say or Not to Say?’ - What information can be given over the phone?
  • Communication via technology e.g. emails - what can be sent?
  • What to do if you suspect a patient has an incorrect label - do you change it? is an incident report needed?
  • What happens if paperwork goes missing? What if it’s confidential?
  • Examples of workplace ethical dilemmas
  • Does acting on your personal ethical decision-making threaten your job?


Day Two



Sally Havers

Infection Prevention and Control - Everyone’s Concern

Do you think you are immune to the multi-resistant organisms that can plague a hospital? Are you sure you aren’t passing on bacteria to other staff members or patients? The chain of infection is not just related to direct contact with a patient but also other staff and the general environment. This session gives you an essential update on basic infection prevention standards in healthcare settings and includes:

  • What is an infection?
  • A guide to basic hand hygiene after touching a patient or a patient's surroundings
  • Hygiene before eating and arriving or leaving work - what you need to do
  • Basic hygiene after touching patient folders - suggested hand hygiene
  • Equipment within the office - is it clean?
  • VRE swab on phones - what may it reveal!


Dean King

De-escalating Aggression and Violence

Unfortunately aggression and violence in the healthcare setting is increasing. Within the workplace patients and residents may behave erratically as a result of their medical condition. You may be the first person that faces the stressed and aggressive person. In order to keep yourself safe, it is very important you are aware of the skills needed to de-escalate a situation and reduce a person's level of agitation or aggression. This session explores methods and insights that help to prevent workplace aggression. Includes:

  • How to deal with aggression?
  • What strategies are useful to de-escalate aggression?
  • Use of body language and language - what matters?
  • How to reduce potential harm to yourself or others
  • Who to seek help from if exposed to danger
  • When might it be time to call a “code grey”?



Dean King

Keep Calm and … Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Constant stress is to be avoided for the sake of your health. Constant pressure can lead to blame and hostility and ultimately conflict between staff members. Learn to stop, survive and thrive in a conflict driven situation. This session will highlight:

  • How to not let things get under your skin
  • Avoiding unnecessary conflict
  • What are the key ingredients to resolving a conflictual situation?
  • How to develop your own mindset and keep calm


Dean King

Drama, Drama, Drama - Avoiding Workplace Gossip

Gossiping is bad news and creates a situation where no one wins. At some points perhaps even rumours or lies can be involved. Small comments and opinions can form a “mean girls” power trip and often leave many feeling isolated and unhappy. This session will discuss the importance of staying out of workplace drama and how to maintain and set high standards when you believe people are being gossips. Topics include:

  • Why gossip?
  • Is there such a thing as ‘good’ gossip?
  • If you are the target of hostility and workplace gossip what should you do?
  • How to easily remove yourself from gossip-like situations
  • How to not take home the stresses of workplace drama or issues - perhaps it is just their problem?



Sean Smith

Time Management and Interruptions - Go Away!

The pressure is on - get more done and then some - and then - there are those pesky emails that just keep on coming … and the incessant Interruptions. This session looks at principles of time management and how not managing your time is not an option. Includes:

  • Tips on managing a diary - prioritising and documentation
  • What to do when people are always interrupting you
  • Saying no!


Sean Smith

‘Listen Up’ How to Deal with Complaints

No matter how good the provision of care or service, there will always be someone who is not satisfied. Conversely, if healthcare is under par complaints are justified and will give a health provider an opportunity to address a problem about which they were not previously aware. In your position, you may be the first person to receive the complaint. How you respond at this early stage has important ramifications. This session arms you with insights into the appropriate management of complaints. Includes:

  • First line response - what to say and do initially
  • How to know when to offer support - should you apologise?
  • Reading the signs - when to listen, when to speak
  • How to remain calm - appropriate use of language
  • Follow up documentation and other actions required


Veronica Mercer

Debriefing After Critical Incidents

Occasionally, you may be involved in a stressful or unexpectedly traumatic event whilst at work. This may not be easy to deal with and may require critical incidence stress debriefing. This session will discuss what such a debrief entails and when it is effective. As well, these principles of debriefing after a crisis can be adapted to everyday small stresses to prevent them from building up into big ones! Includes:

  • How to prevent the critical incident causing undue stress
  • When to know that you may need some debriefing support
  • An opportunity to constructively de-brief as a group



Veronica Mercer

A Mindfulness and Meditation Workshop

Let’s face it! Stress is stressful! Within busy healthcare settings stress and job pressures can unfortunately be unavoidable. However, practical strategies can ensure ‘stressful’ situations from stressing you out. Mindfulness is increasingly used as a powerful therapeutic intervention. It is a simple and effective way to deal with with daily stressors. It may even add years to your life! This final session takes you through a mindful meditation workshop and includes:

  • What is mindfulness?
  • How to use mindfulness to lower stress in your work life
  • How to become more focused at work
  • Learn the power of correctly deep breathing


The Goal Need for Program

The central role that Ward Clerks, Receptionists or Administrative Assistants have in ensuring a unit functions well is becoming more evident. It is also becoming more difficult. This is due to a range of complex reasons which include: the fast turn around of acutely unwell patients, the rapid turnover of staff; the constant changes to policies and procedures; and risk management practices. As well, the shift of focus towards patient centred care requires staff to work in inter-disciplinary teams which creates further issues. All of these changes result in a need for formal educational support that is ongoing. A conference that provides such support will fill an important gap in the knowledge and skills required to confidently perform this role.

Purpose of Program

This conference provides wards clerks, reception staff and other administrative or clerical assistants working in healthcare settings, essential knowledge and skills to better perform the increasing duties and responsibilities required of the role.

Your learning outcomes:

Communicate with ease during complex situations with patients, colleagues and members of the public

Develop clear personal and professional boundaries so that role confusion will be prevented

Work safely within the appropriate legal standards to minimise privacy and confidentiality breaches

Use a range of simple techniques to manage and prevent work related stress


Dean King

Dean King

Dean King is a highly qualified healthcare professional with over 28 years of industry experience. He specialises in communication engagement ... Read More

Kathy Ahern

Kathy Ahern

Kathy Ahern is working at the University of New South Wales as a researcher in the School of Economics. She ... Read More

Anne Garrahy

Anne Garrahy

Currently working in a nursing management role, Anne is a lawyer with experience in both a regional law firm and ... Read More

Sean Smith

Sean Smith

Sean Smith has had the privilege of working in healthcare for the past 31 years in more than a dozen ... Read More

Veronica Mercer

Veronica Mercer

Veronica Mercer worked as a nurse for 15 years in community and hospital settings, and now works in private practice. ... Read More

Andrew  Blythe

Andrew Blythe

Andrew Blythe is a writer and editor who has a Masters in Writing, Editing and Publishing from the University of ... Read More

Sue de Muelenaere

Sue de Muelenaere

Sue de Muelenaere is a Registered Nurse with 15 years’ experience as a Nurse Educator. Sue completed a five year ... Read More

Sally Havers

Sally Havers

Sally Havers is a Credentialed Infection Control Nurse. ... Read More

Ward Clerks, Receptionists and Administrative Assistants' Conference
Speciality Classification
Provider Type
12 hours
Start Date
End Date
12 hours
Price Details
$572.00 (two days)
Brisbane City QLD 4000
Brisbane Mercure Hotel Brisbane, 85-87 North Quay
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