9 Qualities of a Successful Medical Assistant

Medical Assistants

As a medical assistant student, you will learn the clerical and clinical skills needed to be successful in a Medical Assistant Program. In addition to these skills, there are personal qualities that will make the job easier and more fulfilling. Having these qualities will help you treat patients properly, gain trust from colleagues and create a positive work environment. All the things that are important for creating the best health outcomes for your patients.

Quality #1: Empathy & Compassion

Feeling empathy and compassion for your patients is one of the more important qualities to have. Take a moment and step into their shoes, think about what the patient is going through, what they are thinking about and their view of the future. Listen to what the patient is talking about and try to connect with them on their level. Acknowledge the patient’s feelings and put them at ease at the beginning of the visit. Most importantly, don’t judge the patient as they deal with situations differently and may have more concern for the doctor’s office than you do. Being empathic and compassionate will allow you to treat the patient as you would treat yourself, making their health outcome the best it can be.

Quality #2: Friendliness

Create an environment that is friendly in the doctor’s office. Greet patients with a smile and make sure they understand what they are at the doctor’s office for. Show them to the exam room and have a casual conversation if you feel it will make them feel more comfortable.  Try not to ask personal questions, outside of medical history and medical ailments because some patients may feel uncomfortable divulging personal information. Keep the interaction friendly, always have a smile on your face and be considerate of the patient’s time and feelings.

Quality #3: The Ability to Comfort

Many patients will be uncomfortable with coming to the doctor’s office, even for a simple check-up. They are not sure what to expect or what they will learn about their medical situation after the exam. A comfortable experience for patients begins with the atmosphere of the doctor’s office. The waiting room should be calm, and the medical secretary should greet the patient with a friendly greeting. As a medical assistant, you should stay positive and help comfort patients when doing vital signs and recording their medical history. Instead of creating a cold and uncaring environment, make sure the doctor’s office is comfortable to be in and that patient care is the number one priority.

Quality #4: Positiveness

Patients will feed off your positive attitude and understand that you have their best interest in mind. Explain procedures in a positive way, letting the patient know the benefit that they will receive from the procedures or treatments. Having a negative attitude can make patients uncomfortable and ultimately, may encourage them to switch to a doctor’s office where they feel more comfortable.

A positive attitude will help you cope with the patients and their reactions. The positivity will rub off on the patients, helping them cope with their medical worries. Seeing things from a positive point of view will help you to remain optimistic.

Quality #5: Optimism

In addition to a positive attitude, it is important to be optimistic both for yourself and patients. Show the patients that you are confident in what you say and the decisions you make. The more confident you are, the more trusting the patient will be. Optimism helps when educating patients about their health habits. By being optimistic, you can support a patient that may need to change or improve their diet or exercise routine. Being optimistic is about seeing the positive side of the world and expecting a favorable outcome. Optimism breeds trust, confidence, safety and security in an uncertain situation.

Quality #6: Dependability

Colleagues should be able to depend on you. You will want to be punctual and show up for work on time. If the doctor asks you to do something, make sure to do it to the best of your ability to show that you are someone that can be depended upon. You should always be someone everyone can trust and someone that they can count on. Set goals that you can achieve to prove that you are a dependable medical assistant.

Quality #7: Hard Work Ethic

Colleagues enjoy working with medical assistants that are hard workers and take their job seriously. Staying committed to the job at hand, showing enthusiasm in what you do, and having consistent patient outcomes are all part of how you will gain your colleagues’ trust. Take the time to not only do the medical assisting tasks but complete them with satisfactory outcomes. When doctors and nurses become more trusting and confident in your work, they will in turn give you more autonomy.

Quality #8: Discretion

One part of being a medical assistant is dealing with confidential information. It is important to follow all HIPAA guidelines and not break confidence with patient information. There are specific guidelines for what you can tell family and friends about a patient. Being discreet with patients will help them trust you and allow them to have the confidence to provide information regarding their medical situation without worrying about anyone else knowing about it. Discretion shows humanity and gives patients dignity. Show patients respect and they will reciprocate.

Quality #9: Flexibility

As a medical assistant, you will plan out your day, but unexpected situations will always come up that may change your grand plan. You must be flexible to prioritize patients and their ailments. If an emergency situation arises at the doctor’s office, you must be able to focus on the emergency and then get back to your daily patient list. The ability to calmly cope with change, identify problems, and come up with creative solutions is what flexibility is all about. Having this quality will allow you to see things from another angle such as considering the advice of a colleagues. Flexibility allows you to adapt to change and overcome any obstacle you might face.

Final Thoughts

Although you may already have many of these qualities, if you don’t, the good news is that you can learn them as you complete your diploma in a medical assistant program and while working at your first job. Becoming a medical assistant is a process and these qualities will become more evident as time passes and your training continues. Employers understand that qualities are learned over time, and there is always something new to learn. Keep improving your personal  qualities and skills over time and you will always be in demand.

Did learning about the qualities of a successful medical assistant interest you? Ready for an exciting new career in the medical assisting field? PCI Health Training Center’s Medical Assistant program prepares a graduate to work as an entry-level Medical Assistant. Within this general career category there are several specialty areas, including Medical Administrative Office Assistant, Clinic Assistant, Clinic Tech, Medical Office Manager, Phlebotomist and Physical Therapy Aide in a doctor’s office, clinic or hospital out-patient clinic. Contact PCI Health Training Center for more information on how to become a medical assistant and start a rewarding career today.

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