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Essential Skills For Healthcare Professionals

Barbara Duckett

Being a healthcare Notary requires attention to detail, compassion and diligence in following state and federal laws regulating the industry. The Healthcare Professionals Section recently spoke with Barbara Duckett,
a Bronx, New York Notary with extensive care
er experience at Bellevue Hospital Center, about the skills important to serving patients and staff.

What constituency do you primarily serve?
I notarize for both patients and staff — in 2009, I estimate that I notarized more than 2,000 documents! Typical patient documents include powers of attorney, pension documents, or permission letters from parents, but patient documents can vary widely. I also notarize various documents for resident physicians, hospital department heads and other members of the staff. Some examples include notarizing applications for credentialing exams or exam results documents, or other documents that they use to verify their education and training.

What challenges do you face when notarizing in a healthcare setting?
There are myriad of document types that every healthcare Notary should become familiar with, from powers of attorney to advance directives. Many of these documents have specific handling instructions, confusing wording or do not clearly indicate where the person should sign the document, which definitely makes it more challenging to complete the notarization properly. As a healthcare Notary, you need to know the specific document types and their handling instructions. I would love to see a course on this.

Other than Notarization, what skills or training should a healthcare Notary have?
Having practical experience working with patients is the number one thing. You’re often dealing with situations that are life altering, and patients need comfort and care. I coordinate for our Patient Services’ Volunteer Friendly Visitor Program, and I supervise approximately 25 volunteers. One of them told me, “I volunteered to deal with patients at their bedside because learning from a book will not give me that experience.” You can know how to be a Notary, but without patient experience it becomes very difficult.

What are tips do you have for Notaries seeking employment in healthcare?
There are many branches of healthcare where Notaries can look for work, including social work, patient advocacy, nursing and medical billing. On your resume, include all of your experience in the healthcare field as well as certifications, community service and experience as a volunteer. Of course, it is always a plus to have the skills of a knowledgeable Notary.

David Thun is an Associate Editor at the National Notary Association.

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