This month we speak with Kinga Málnási, who seems to be everywhere if you are a regular visitor at FirstMed, but her face may also be familiar to those who have never been to the clinic. She works at the front desks of our clinics at both Hattyúház and Hűvösvölgy and represents our FirstMed at various events. Let’s get to know her a little better.
What is the most defining factor in your life?
Love of life and the desire to prove, which may originate from my Transilvanian roots. Though I was just 15 when I moved to Hungary, I was born in Székelyudvarhely, known to non-Hungarians as Odorheiu Secuiesc, Romania. Along with my mother, I also have an uncle and a few cousins who are living here as well. I love living here, and consider the “mother country” my home now. In the end I cannot, and will not, ever deny my roots, which strongly shaped my character.
I started working shortly after finishing secondary school, pursuing many different types of jobs. With each I always did my work with maximum attention and enthusiasm. Among the various jobs I’ve held I have; ironed clothes at a tailor; sold jeans at a market; waited tables at a Székely (this is what Hungarian people of Transylvania are called) restaurant; and then for a five year period ran a bakery with my partner at the time. After we split and sold the bakery, I began working in Budapest for expat families as babysitter with even though I had virtually with no English knowledge. I am always grateful to my friend who helped me start working for English-speaking families. This period in my life was quite formative, helping to open a new world to me.
How did you manage without any command of another language?
It was hard at the beginning; we would look up words in the dictionary I carried with me every day for three months. I would say it took, with help of the family I was working with and lots of computer learning, about 18 months for me to acquire enough English to communicate well on basic level. Working for a Canadian family that traveled a lot with their children, I would have total English immersion on their 1-2 week trips outside of Hungary; it was either English or talk to myself.
Only when I attained a firmer grasp of English did I realized that speaking another language would be my passport to the world. Although I am still not perfect, it adds much to my professional as well as personal development. Before learning English I only spoke Hungarian. In school when I was in Transylvania I was taught the Romanian history and geography in Romanian, but most of that language knowledge is gone now.
How did you come to work for FirstMed?
After a few years of working with children pretty much 365 days a year I felt like I was ready for a change. The family that I was working for, sensing that I was looking for a new challenge, were patients of FirstMed and they suggested I apply for a job.I was going to put in my application with another international clinic, but my employers persuaded me to change my mind because of their positive experiences with FirstMed. A week following my interview I was already training in billing and reception.
What were your initial duties and how did you find working in such a different environment?
It was a huge challenge for me, since it was the first time I worked in an office setting. It required just as much responsibility as working with children, though in different ways; I was anxious to live up to expectations. The probation period lasts for three months. During the first 30 days I learned how to use the billing software and patient relations. From there it was just about practicing what I learned until it was clear to my manager whether or not I was fit for the job.
The job of a FirstMed receptionist is pretty complex. You have to be fast and meticulous, and demonstrate appropriate patient service skills. There is a focus on customer service here and we participate in annual training sessions. Initially these trainings were just for receptionists, but now it has been expanded to all our medical staff, including doctors. This ensures that besides their excellent medical reputation they also have proper and empathetic communication skills to make the patient experience as pleasant as possible. The collective training of medical and administrative staff bring these two profoundly different but interdependent fields closer together working almost like a team-building medium. The cooperation is definitely much easier since these sessions started taking place.
You also work in marketing. Is that right?
Six months after I started working at the front desk I was offered additional responsibilities as a marketing assistant. Initially I got dry administrative tasks, but soon I got involved in more colorful tasks like event attendance and organization. Today I represent the clinic at many expat events. I organize most of FirstMed’s events which I love doing. I have organized our ‘plan holder appreciation’ golf event and the annual family day on Margaret Island that we arrange with our partner, the British Chamber of Commerce. What I am most proud of is FirstMed’s 15th anniversary gala party last year with more than 100 invitees. It was great to celebrate together our milestone 15th ‘birthday’.
And then came Hűvösvölgy…
That’s right. Almost exactly a year ago, on April 1, 2014 FirstMed opened its second location in the Hűvösvölgy section of District II where I work as the administrative manager. When I first started working in 2010, there was already talk about the “new clinic” with a potential opportunity for future advancement. After a lot of bumps in the road it finally opened; two weeks after I was already moving into my office. I still keep many of my other tasks as well, so besides managing the new clinic I am still working at the front desk in the the Hattyúház and organizing and attending events.
The Hűvösvölgy clinic is smaller than our Hattyúház facility. There are four doctors’ offices supported by a small lab. FirstMed services at Hűvösvölgy include internal medicine, gynecology, pediatrics, physical therapy, and dermatology. The clinic can be reached by calling our main number +36-1-224-9090. Our phone operators can give you appointments for either location. It is worth asking for a Hűvösvölgy appointment, as we are still running great offers that you can learn more of following this link.
It looks like you are a “Jane-of-all-trades” here at FirstMed. What about when you’re not working?
I love eating and travelling. To be honest I am not very good at cooking but I attempt it from time to time with more or less success. Before I used to only eat Hungarian food, but when I started travelling, not having my favorite dishes at hand, I was forced to try new, local foods opening up a new world of flavors. Currently, and it changes often, my favorite food is a steak with salad. I love going to New York City, which I consider my second home, but I would also like to visit Central and South America as well. My dream is to try a real Argentinian steak on the Argentinian shores. I hope one day it becomes a reality.
Kinga Málnási is another vital member of the FirstMed family. She currently is the administrative manager of our newest clinic location in District II on Hűvösvölgyi ut helping to ensure that all our patients get the same great service they have come to expect. Additionally she can occasionally be found assisting the front operations in our Hattyúház location from time to time. An avid bowler and world traveler, this August Ms. Málnási will celebrate her 5th year with FirstMed.