Like any job, there are certain skills a medical assistant must have in order to have a successful career.
Anatomy and Medical Terminology
Having a good understanding about anatomy and medical terminology is very important for a medical assistant. You will need to know these in order to help the doctor, file patient charts, and other duties.
Average to above average communication skills are necessary when working in this field. You will need to communicate clearly and professionally when calling in a patient’s prescription, speaking with the doctor or another doctor’s office. Sometimes you will talk with a pharmaceutical representative who will leave you brochures for the doctor to look over. You should also be able to answer a patient’s question without having to confer with the doctor or physician’s assistant, as well as determine if they need a same-day appointment or if a trip to the emergency room is needed.
Basic Computer Skills
You must have a general knowledge about computer programs such as word processing in order to be able to perform duties that include retrieving and modifying files. Knowing how to send email and do Internet searches are also helpful.
Being a medical assistant is more than helping treat patients. You should also have a basic understanding of proper phone etiquette as well as how to bookeep and organize patient and other files . Knowing how to purchase medical and office supplies may also be required.
As a medical assistant, it is likely you will need to perform more than one task at a time. You will need to quickly and efficiently meet the demands of the doctor, the patient, and even other staff members.
You may need to communicate just as effectively in writing as you would orally. You must know how to write a complete sentence and understand proper punctuation and grammar.
It is easy to tune someone out when they going on about their problems. But as a medical assistant, you cannot do this. If you do, you risk missing important pieces of information that could save someone’s life. You need to pay attention to the patient’s tone of voice, whether or not the abruptly stop talking, if they have a lack of eye contact, and if their complaint remains consistent.
Having patience and keeping calm when speaking with a patient can go a long way. Patients are often scared, especially children, and may need to ask the same questions over and over.
There are many technical skills that you will perform on a daily basis as a medical assistant. They include taking a patient’s vital signs, blood pressure, or giving injections (this depends on state law).
You must pay attention to detail especially when recording patient information such as vital signs. Writing down incorrect information can lead to unnecessary or improper treatment.
Some miscellaneous skills medical assistants should have are:
- The ability to present themselves to patients and co-workers in a polite and courteous fashion.
- Be reliable and show up for work at their scheduled time and know what patient information to keep confidential. Violating HIPPA laws usually causes medical professionals to lose their job.
- The ability to work on your own.
These are just some of the skills a medical assistant should have. Some of them you should have going into your first day on the job, and others you will develop as time goes on. If you would like to learn more on this subject or find out about other resources for medical assistants, contact us to learn more.