Did you know there’s a Medical Assistant Recognition week? For good reason: Medical Assistants are becoming an increasingly valuable part of the medical community. From handling sensitive patient information to drawing blood, they have to be adaptable and knowledgeable in several areas.
“Medical Assistants are essential for an office medical practice in today’s world,” said Dr. Paul Hobbs of Tahlequah Medical Group.1 “They are specially trained to make our jobs easier.”
For Amber Camp, who works with Dr. Hobbs, you have to be flexible and enjoy helping others. “It’s important to have good people skills,” she said. “More often than not, the people you deal with aren’t feeling well, and may not be on their best behavior. You have to be pleasant, and do your best to put them at ease. You can’t be squeamish, either. This isn’t a job for you if bodily fluids bug you.”
Like doctors, Medical Assistants can focus on one area and receive special training in podiatry, orthopedics, or ophthalmology. All Medical Assistants receive on-the-job training, but formal training is often necessary to advance to other fields.
Camp understands the importance of education. “There is so much you have to learn, including testing, lab results, etc., and it’s important you have a working knowledge of these things.” The bottom line according to Camp? “Get an education.”
Great Qualities for Medical Assistants
In addition to quality Medical Assistant training, it’s also important to determine if you are well-suited to the role. While there are exceptions to every rule, certain qualities can typically be found in successful Medical Assistants.
1. Good Multitaskers: Medical Assistants really excel when they can do several things at once. Because their jobs are split between administrative and clinical components, there usually isn’t a shortage in tasks that need to be completed. Additionally, it’s best if MAs are resourceful, adaptable, and efficient.
2. A Drive to Help Others: This one is particularly important. If you don’t care about helping others, you probably shouldn’t be a Medical Assistant (or a healthcare professional). While there are several perks for Medical Assistants, the number one motivator should always involve helping others. Before you pursue Medical Assistant training, ask yourself if bettering the community gives you satisfaction.
3. Analytical & Technical Skills: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Assistants must be able to read medical charts and diagnoses.2 They may need to code a patient’s medical records for billing purposes. Technical skills are equally important, as Medical Assistants often use clinical instruments to take a patient’s vital signs.
4. Detail Oriented: This quality is also listed on the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It is critical that Medical Assistants be as accurate as possible when taking vital signs or recording information. Why, you may ask? Physicians and insurance companies rely on these records.
5. Interpersonal Skills: The Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to these skills as important qualities for Medical Assistants. Because they play a supportive role, MAs often need to convey patient information to other healthcare personnel (i.e. physicians). Additionally, they may interact with patients who are stressed or in pain. It’s imperative that Medical Assistants remain calm and professional.
At Unitek College, we seek to prepare students for entry-level employment as Medical Assistants through our Medical Assisting program. Above all else, we strive to be accessible and inclusive, and we are eager to help others take charge of their future.
1 Source: Tahlequah Daily Press
This Unitek blog post was originally published on April 16, 2013.