Thinking About a Career in Healthcare? Look at Medical Assistant Skills & Attributes

Medical Assistants are held to a higher standard of professionalism than employees in other industries. The way a Medical Assistant approaches their job and interacts with patients is critical to the success of the physician’s practice, hospitals, outpatient clinics and other healthcare facilities. Patients expect professional behavior and put trust and confidence in those who are professional in demeanor. There are a specific set of skills and attributes that shape a Medical Assistant into a professional. A Medical Assistant should work on being loyal, dependable, courteous, initiative driven, flexible, credible, confidential, and optimistic.

Loyalty – Medical Assistants should be devoted to the success of the medical practice and hold the belief that being a Medical Assistant is in their best interest. Loyalty should be reciprocal and if a medical practice is offering equal pay for equal work, an MA will feel like their employer is doing its best for them as well.  Medical Assistants can go one step further and be committed to the medical practice if they support the employers’ strategy and objectives.

Dependability – A dependable Medical Assistant not only shows up for work on time but also produces consistent work. They must follow through when the physician gives an order. A dependable Medical Assistant will also be counted on and given more responsibility.

Courtesy – A Medical Assistant should be friendly and kind to patients. Attention should be given to them as they arrive for their appointments. A Medical Assistant should offer a warm smile and friendly attitude to the arriving patient.

Initiative – A Medical Assistant should be self-motivated and ambitious. MAs that show initiative have a take charge attitude. They should observe a need and make themselves available, rather than wait for a supervisor to direct them to an area that needs attention.

Flexibility – A 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 MA should lend a hand wherever they are needed.

Credibility – Trust is a vital component of a Medical Assistant and patient relationship. The credibility of an MA should be strong so the information that is given to patients is accurate. The patient may see Medical Assistants as an agent of the physician.

Confidentiality – Patients are entitled to privacy under the HIPAA act. Confidentiality extends to the home and other environments outside of the medical office. A Medical Assistant is prohibited from discussing confidential patient information to family and friends. Consequences will be enacted if the medical assistant breaches patient privacy.

Medical Assistant Professional Attributes

An MA will need specific attributes to be a professional while working with colleagues and dealing with patients. These attributes include teamwork, time management, prioritization and goal setting.

Teamwork – Medical staff must work together for the benefit of the patient. A Medical Assistant should accept the tasks given to them by their supervisor unless they are illegal, unethical, or place patients in danger.

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

Prioritizing – A form of triage should be used by a Medical Assistant to sort tasks into the must, should and could categories. Of course, an MA needs to attend to emergencies, but they also must anticipate what will do the most good and in what order those tasks should be completed to benefit the most.

Setting Goals – If a Medical Assistant doesn’t set goals, tasks may fall through the cracks. Setting goals can also help accomplish what is needed each day, giving the MA more motivation to achieve those goals.

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? Contact the Allen School today! We are enrolling now for our classes starting soon and cannot wait for you to become part of the Allen School family. Visit to learn more.

-Allen School

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