A Medical Assistant (MA) is categorized as a member of the Allied Health profession. An MA is the only multi-skilled allied health professional that is specifically used to work in an ambulatory care center, otherwise known as a clinic.
Medical Assistants (MA’s) are expected to be proficient in three different areas: clinical, administrative and laboratory.
When speaking with our healthcare partners in Green Bay, WI, we wanted to narrow down the 10 key qualities that employers are looking for when hiring a medical assistant. This is what we came up with:
1. Customer Service
Health care has become very competitive over the last few years. Patients often have multiple options for providers or organizations that are covered by their insurance. Being able to understand that your patients are your customers and making sure that you can meet their needs is crucial. Medical assistants need to be professional and be able to identify and satisfy their customer’s needs.
2. Honesty and Integrity
People with honesty and integrity can be trusted. They never compromise their values and attempt to do the right thing, even when it may be hard to do. When an error is made, it is extremely important to admit what you did for the sake of patient safety. As a Medical Assistant you must put your patients’ well-being above everything.
Being competent and reliable is an important quality because the doctor is expecting you to get the job done correctly and efficiently. Being competent is also how you will gain respect and trust from your peers, management and ultimately your doctor.
The health care field is always advancing and improving. As a MA, you need to be able to pick up on things quickly, be flexible, and adapt to change. Keeping competitive with other health care organizations and innovations becomes difficult at times, but is necessary. You may have to fill in for a co-worker when they are ill, which can mean you are dealing with double the patients for the day. Being adaptable may also mean needing to think fast in an emergency.
5. Team player
As a Medical Assistant you are working on an intricate team. The team starts with the receptionist and continues all the way to the coding and billing department and down to the laboratory. You must be able to get along with others and work very closely and cooperatively with peers and your provider.
6. Continual improvement
In order to keep up with changes and advances in the field you need to stay up to date with your skills. Becoming a Certified Medical Assistant is encouraged. It proves to your employer that you are competent in the skills that are needed for your job. Continuing education credits are required to maintain a certification.
Not being afraid to speak up when something is outside of your scope of practice and being sure to ask for help when needed. Take time to praise your peers and not brag about how good you are. Use constructive criticism to learn from a mistake or suggestion.
8. Effective communication
A big part of an MA’s day is patient education. Being able to effectively communicate is huge! Explaining procedures or re-explaining what the doctor said for a patient to better understand is a common occurrence. Teaching patients how to care for themselves at home or perform certain tasks on their own is critical. Communicating with peers and doctors is another skill that should never be overlooked. Learning the proper etiquette of the medical office can prove to be challenging for some, but is essential.
9. Self- Motivation
Motivation is something that needs to be done within each individual. Watching your nonverbal cues and coming to work every day excited and ready to go. Being able to leave your stress at home and not bring it to work with you is important.
10. Smile and Attitude
Don’t let patients know when you are having a bad day. Always be smiling. Being able to be pleasant even when it is hard, shows you have a good attitude and maintains professionalism.
If you keep these 10 key qualities in mind you will make a great Medical Assistant!