5 Qualities of a Great Medical Assistant

Every successful employee has certain qualities that align with his or her job. Medical Medical assistant, job, career, tips, qualities
assistant is no different.

If you’re looking into the profession, there are some basic things you need to know about the work and how your skills, personality traits and demeanor mesh with your duties as a medical assistant.

Here, we’ll look at five qualities that make for a great medical assistant, from your training and knowledge to the finer points of the field.

1. Knowing Your Stuff

Whether you feel you need a diploma or an associate degree, you will need some postsecondary education before you go into medical assisting, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While the work is varied and takes on many forms, there are several technical duties assigned to medical assistants that require specific training. They include:

  • Collecting lab specimens
  • Preparing patients for examination
  • Drawing blood
  • Explaining treatments
  • Monitoring vital signs
  • Giving injections
  • Recording medical history

Having a solid grasp of these assignments, which vary by practice, is key to being a great medical assistant.

You can also look into becoming a certified medical assistant or registered medical assistant, both of which require you to pass an exam.

When you’re dealing with patient health, you need to know your stuff.

2. Detail Orientation

Whether you’re filling out insurance forms or explaining a doctor’s instructions to a patient, many of the tasks of a medical assistant require an eye for detail.

Depending on where you work, you may have many different assignments and responsibilities that demand organization and precision. Being detail oriented will help you stay on top of things and maintain a well-run office.

You will work closely with physicians and often relay their treatment plans or medical procedures. By having a strong grasp of the details, you will make yourself a more valuable employee, work more efficiently and provide excellent patient care.

3. Caring Attitude

Nobody really enjoys having to see the doctor. And as a medical assistant, you need to have a positive, caring attitude.

On the front lines of patient care, medical assistants must be empathetic, understanding and calming.

Patients come with problems—they’re stressed, in pain or worried about their condition. It’s up to the medical assistant, often the first person someone sees at the doctor’s office, to be compassionate and reassuring.

See what having a good attitude has done for medical assistant student Rochelle Riles.

Having a good bedside manner can help patients feel more at ease and better prepared for anything that lies ahead.

A caring attitude also extends to explanations of treatments or medication—making people understand in simple terms how they need to address their situation.

Interpersonal communication skills are a major plus.

4. Administrative Skills

Being a medical assistant often means you will be doing more than simply helping physicians care for patients.

Keeping patient records, setting appointments, coding insurance forms and other clerical work all come under the purview of medical assistants, according to the American Association of Medical Assistants.

This fits with the detail message we discussed earlier. Managing office tasks—handling orders, arranging billing and bookkeeping—is sometimes part of the daily routine. The administrative part of the job also requires you to have adequate knowledge of how to use a computer and the ability to keep patient information confidential.

5. Flexibility

Many healthcare facilities are open 24/7, so your workweek as a medical assistant won’t always be 9-5.

You should be prepared to occasionally work odd hours and fill in for others during weekend or overnight shifts.Medical assistant, job, career, tips, qualities

Flexibility also means having the ability to handle the many different kinds of patients you’ll see every day—each has his or her own maladies, personality and treatment plan. You need to apply your skills differently depending on the situation.

And, as we covered above, there are many facets to the profession, so you need to be well versed in all of them to consider yourself a great medical assistant.


Like any career, the medical assistant profession takes many skills and talents to be great.

Helping people as part of your job is one of the many perks. And the field is growing quickly, with a 20 percent increase in the number of positions projected through 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

We hope this list has given you some tips on how to be a successful medical assistant. Have a tip for us? Leave it in the comment section below.