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Medical Assistants:
Top Traits Needed In A Medical Assisting Career

By Len Simpson

Most of us have had the benefit of a medical assistant's work when visiting a clinic, or doctor's office. But have you ever wondered if you have what it takes to pursue medical assistant training as a career? There are key traits every medical assistant should have such as strong communication skills, empathy, dependability, stress tolerance, self-control, courtesy, integrity, attention to detail, and agility.

It might help to understand what exactly a medical assistant does before you can appreciate the traits required to become one. While clinical duties vary according to state law, medical assistants generally perform a mix of administrative and clinical duties, including scheduling appointments, billing and coding for insurance purposes, maintaining medical records, taking and recording vital signs, documenting medical histories, preparing patients for examination, drawing blood and administering medications as directed by a physician.

Medical Assistant Traits

Do you possess any of the below traits? The following common traits may make you think about a medical assistant careers choice in a new light:

Strong Communication Skills: Listening to others without interruption while still asking relevant questions is key to obtaining valuable information that may be helpful to the doctor. Good communication is also about sharing important physician instructions clearly with patients and answering any questions he or she may have.

Empathetic: It's not only being a good listener that is important to a medical assistant, but also understanding any concerns, joys, and other situations and experiences patients are sharing with you. This may help them feel more at ease during the appointment.

Dependability: The doctor, your health care team members and the patients all depend on you to be on time, know your job, and respect the accepted protocols.

Stress Tolerance: A busy doctor's office or clinic can get quite hectic. Patients come to your facility in need of care, and there will always be plenty of paperwork to maintain, all of which contributes to the chaos. The everyday stresses that all of these situations can cause requires a strong, tolerant person to effectively handle each and every one.

Self-Control and Courtesy: It's easy to react to a busy physician, or a frustrated patient who is in pain or full of questions, but having self-control of your own emotions and actions in a health care setting while remaining courteous is the mark of a true professional.

Integrity: In a health care environment, the information a medical assistant collects and has access to is privileged information. The HIPAA Privacy Rule requires discretion of patient health information, but it's also a courtesy to be respectful of any information you obtain from a patient, even in casual conversation. As a result, medical assistants are faced with moral and ethical situations every day. Integrity is paramount to being a good medical assistant.

Attention to Detail: By being alert and attentive to details, you will be better able to help your patients, assist the doctors caring for them, and aid your colleagues so they can do their jobs more effectively.

Agility: Possessing manual dexterity and visual acuity will be invaluable in the medical assisting field when performing medical procedures.

Typically, those interested in becoming a medical assistant enjoy helping people, teaching and talking with others. If any of these traits appeal to you, it is important to find the right medical assistant training program that will teach you hands-on techniques from experienced instructors.

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