New Year, New Career. Medical Assistant: Skills & Attributes

Medical Assistants are held to a higher standard of professionalism than employees in other industries. The way the Medical Assistant approaches their job and interacts with patients is critical to the success of the patient’s well-being, along with the success of each practice, hospital, clinic and any other healthcare facility. Patients expect professional behavior and put trust and confidence in those who are professional in demeanor with a good bedside manner. Being kind AND professional to patients should be a no-brainer but can definitely be a challenge from time to time. Along with offering a warm smile and friendly attitude to the arriving patient, there are many skills that contribute to the professionalism of a Medical Assistant including being loyal and dependable.

Loyalty is important because as a Medical Assistant, you should be devoted to the success of the practice because, in the end, that equals success to your patients. Loyalty should be reciprocal and if a medical practice is offering equal pay for equal work, the Medical Assistant will feel like the practice is doing its best for them as well. Dependability is equally as important to everyone involved. When a Medical Assistant not only shows up for work on time but also produces consistent work and follows through on tasks and requests, then the practice runs smooth, patients don’t feel rushed, and in turn you can be counted on and given more responsibility.

Taking Initiative is another skill that goes a long way. The Medical Assistant should be self-motivated, ambitious, and observe any need that the staff or their patients may have. Making themselves available, rather than waiting for a supervisor to direct them to an area that needs attention is a very desirable skill that employers are searching for. Along with that comes flexibility. The Medical Assistant should have the willingness and ability to respond to changing situations and expectations. Flexible Medical Assistants will modify their approach to tasks based on the unique demands of each situation, especially in an emergency. In a medical facility, the patient comes first, and every Medical Assistant should lend a hand wherever they are needed.

Two other important skills to possess are credibility and confidentiality. Trust is a vital component of the Medical Assistant-patient relationship, and the credibility of every MA should be strong. The information that is given to patients must be accurate as the patient may see you as an extension of the physician. After accuracy, Confidentiality becomes of equal importance. Patients are entitled to privacy under the HIPAA act. Confidentiality extends to the home and other environments outside of the medical office. The Medical Assistant is prohibited from discussing confidential patient information to anyone not authorized by the patient themselves. Serious consequences will be enacted if patient privacy is breached.

The Medical Assistant will need these four specific attributes along with the above skills, to be a professional while working with colleagues and dealing with patients. These attributes include teamwork, time management, prioritization, and goal setting.

Teamwork- In the medical field, teamwork is detrimental to the outcome of a patient’s visit. The medical staff must work together, and accept the tasks given to them by their supervisor (unless they are illegal, unethical, or place patients in danger).

Time Management – Medical assistants should use their time efficiently and concentrate on the most important duties first. They should make a schedule, prioritize tasks and allow for emergencies along the way. The key to time management is prioritizing.

Prioritizing – a form of triage should be used by the Medical Assistant to sort tasks into the must, should and could categories. Of course, attending to emergencies will always take precedence, but one must also anticipate what order each task should be completed to benefit the most.

Setting Goals – if the Medical Assistant doesn’t set goals, they will never know when the goals have been achieved! Setting goals can also help the MA accomplish tasks more efficiently, giving them more time to achieve other goals or even have some downtime in an otherwise stressful busy day.

Learning never ends as a Medical Assistant and that is what makes this career so rewarding. Interested in learning more about developing the skills and attributes of a medical assistant? Is this the year for a new career? In order to protect our community during the COVID-19 crisis, The Allen School of Health Sciences is offering virtual campus tours for enrollment for our classes starting soon. Contact the Allen School today! We cannot wait for you to become part of the Allen School family. Visit to learn more.

-Allen School

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