On a daily basis, medical assistants are required to wear many hats to ensure that the lives of patients, nurses, and physicians are all made easier. And, like with any profession, a particular skill set is required for a medical assistant to be successful. If you’re considering a career in the field, here are some of the most important characteristics that can make a good medical assistant a great one!
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- Compassionate: You will need to be supportive and provide emotional comfort to patients while they are waiting to be seen by the physician. Compassion is a key ingredient when a medical assistant is working with patients who aren’t feeling well.
- Strong communicator: Medical assistants need to be excellent at effectively conveying information. You'll need to be an active listener to fully understand what is being told or asked of you.
- Organized: On any given work day, a medical assistant will see multiple patients. This means a good amount of paperwork, patient files, and names to be kept straight. Because one little mistake can go a long way in the wrong direction, you must maintain strong organizational skills.
- People person: A medical assistant deals with a lot of people on a daily basis on a variety of levels. You will need to be friendly enough to confidently go from patient to patient, all with a smile and an outgoing demeanor.
- Team player: Medical assistants work in medical facilities. You will be part of a team that includes physicians, nurses, medical staff, and patients and their families. There is no room for a rogue player!
- Detail-oriented: To be an effective asset to the medical team, a medical assistant needs to pay attention to even the most minute details when it comes to patients. By paying close attention to details in patients’ histories and information, you can help the team better assess a given situation.
- Adaptable: Each day brings different experiences in the healthcare industry. Technology, procedures, and daily office life are in a constant state of movement, so a great medical assistant needs to keep up with the daily changes. You need to be flexible and easily roll with the punches.
- Ethical: HIPAA laws protect patients’ confidentiality rights, and medical assistants are bound to these rules just like the rest of the medical staff. Discussing patients is strictly prohibited. Everything you experience with patients is protected, so a strong sense of ethics is key to the success of any medical assistant.
In 2019, medical assistants made an average annual pay of $35,720 (bls.gov). The top 10% of medical assistants made $48,720 (bls.gov). With experience and dedication to sharpening your abilities, you may get to the top as well. The first step begins with training near you—you could be career-ready in as few as 10 months.