NHS Careers > Explore by career > Wider healthcare team > Careers in the wider healthcare team > Administration > Telephonist/switchboard operator

Telephonist/switch board operator

Telephonists/switchboard operators are employed throughout the health service. They may work on a busy switchboard in a hospital or another central NHS location, such as a heath authority or a trust headquarters. They might work shifts or some nights and weekends. Like receptionists, they are an important first point of contact for patients and their families and are a vital link between a caller and the person who can help.

Callers might be anxious or upset, waiting to hear about a friend or relative, or phoning to check details of an important clinic appointment, therefore good communication skills are important.

Telephone/switchboard operators also handle urgent calls between members of the healthcare team in hospitals and the community. A GP might ring to arrange an emergency appointment for a patient or a health visitor might want to check some key information about a child. They provide the fast efficient service they need.

Entry requirements

There is no set minimum entry requirements, but this can vary between employing authorities. Many will require a good all round education.

Job vacancies

Most NHS trusts now advertise on the NHS Jobs website. Vacancies are also advertised in local press or job centres. Additionally, you can contact the local hospitals/trusts directly for information on their specific opportunities.