2 hours in the life of admin

Danielle here! As most of you know, I’m the founder and director of 12 Points Psychology and as such, I was the one who set up a lot of our admin processes. I chose the patient management system that we use, and with Trish’s help (our Practice Manager) developed all the policies and procedures our admin staff follow as they support our clinicians to best serve our clients.

However, up until last weekend, it had been 3 years since I had to work the front desk and it certainly gave me a lot of insight into all that admin do for us as clinicians and for our clients. So, I wanted to use this as a chance to thank our admin team for all that they do and let some of our clients in on the behind the scenes stuff that our admin staff are often juggling out there at the front desk. So here’s my Saturday shift…


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I covered admin for 2 hours a couple of Saturdays ago, while Mat and Elizabeth were running the Coping with Christmas group and wow has it changed since the last time I had to sit at the front desk!



Even though it was a Saturday.

Even though there were only TWO clinicians on.

Even though it was only 2 hours.

Damn it was hard!

I got there half an hour early (as we ask admin to do for handover time) and Mat filled me in on the situation with the client who was in with Janine. Depending on how their session went, there were two very different procedures I would have to follow when they finished up and I needed to prep for both so I wouldn’t keep the client or the clinician waiting.

Then the group members started coming in to pay, it’s only $10 each, but there was a new person who needed to fill out her paperwork as well. They all needed teas and coffees too. While that was happening, someone called to take a cancellation spot Mat had offered them earlier in the morning, so I had to book them in and answer some questions.

Are you keeping track?

In the space of maybe 2 minutes, I was:

  • simultaneously taking and making 3 tea and coffee orders,
  • putting 3 lots of payments through,
  • taking notes for the client that would be coming out at 3,
  • speaking to a client and booking them in for Monday and
  • trying to smile and stay pleasant about the whole thing! 🙂

The group members went though and I was fixing up the ‘back end’ in our patient management system, e.g., marking those who were in attendance as ‘paid’ and processing rebates when the phone rang again. This time it was one of Clinton’s clients who wanted to cancel all his upcoming appointments because he’d just started a new job and could no longer make those times. I tried to convince him not to cancel them all (as Clinton is hard to get in to), but ended up having to go in and cancel 4 upcoming appointments and then send an email to Clinton letting him know that’s what I’d done and that the client wanted to put on the list to be contacted in the New Year when things had settled.

So then of course I also had to go onto the to-do board for next year and make a note of that as well – including the explanation about when the client is most easily contactable. I decided to leave filling those cancelled spots for Trish on Monday! (Sorry Trish).

And it wasn’t even 3pm yet!

Over the rest of my 2-hour shift, I just couldn’t believe how many competing tasks admin now had to juggle, and how many different points there are along the way where the wheels can fall off and take up even more time, for example:

  • one rebate came up as failed because the Medicare card was invalid – so the Monday people had to phone Medicare – 15 minutes on hold to find out that the client’s Medicare card had updated and the client hadn’t been told yet (Medicare often updates your Medicare number BEFORE they send you your new card).
  • One rebate came up as failed as the client was out of Mental Health Care Plan sessions, so that was 15-20 minutes explaining the Mental Health Care Plan system to him (no mean feat as it doesn’t really make sense to anyone!), changing the fee type, printing out a new invoice, explaining how to get the private health insurance rebate, while leaving another “Monday to-do” for poor Trish who will then have to make another call to Medicare to check what had happened (the client had used 2 sessions with another psych earlier in the year that they didn’t realise counted towards their total).
  • A new client came out to pay and book forward, but I was in the middle of processing the other claim, so couldn’t check the (unusual) spelling on her name, this meant I had to write everything down and then enter it in afterwards once I had the file back in front of me and then text her the dates that she had booked forward after she’d left.

This was all happening while I was coming to a very important decision about my decorating aesthetic for the waiting room! No more toys that make clanks, clashes or banging sounds! I apologise to the entire admin team for submitting you to that for as long as I have!! It’s all soft furnishings and plush toys from here on out!

Needless to say, I was very, very grateful when 4.30 rolled around and Mat came out from their first group session (which happily went very well)!!

So, this is a thank you to admin and all that they do (because I swear, they don’t even realise how many different balls they manage to keep up in the air anymore, they just do it!) and a reminder for them, myself, the rest of us clinicians and our clients that when the occasional ball does get dropped, it represents a tiny percentage of the hundreds of processes that get done right, that get done with a smile and that make ours and our client’s lives so much easier.

I’m both incredibly proud of our amazing team and incredibly grateful that my days at the front desk are over!

So hats off to Mat, Kath, Laura, Lisandra and Trish who make us look good AND make it look so easy! 🙂