The Knowledge Nook

What Are Important Traits For Successful Medical Assistants?

Posted by Tami Russell on Apr 7, 2017 3:29:30 PM


What makes a person good at his or her job?  Experts will point to a lot of clues for success such as a love for the work, a desire to excel in a particular field, and a deep interest in the day to day tasks. 

It makes sense, then, that for most of us, our core skill set and our innate personalities mean that some jobs are a much better match for us than others.  Knowing yourself and what you like, or dislike, will help you choose a career that not only pays the bills, but one that makes you happy to head to work every day.

If you’ve ever considered the career of a medical assistant, ask yourself what about this particular career is catching your attention?  Let’s take a look at some traits of a successful medical assistant. From, and The Knowledge Nook’s parent organization,, here is a quick compilation of solid traits for medical assistants, including

  • Be a good listener and good communicator. Medical assistants are often the first paraprofessional that a patient will meet during any visit to any type of health care facility. It is vital that the medical assistant be thorough in communicating information both from the patient to the physician, and from the physician to the patient.  Good listening and communicating skills are vital to any successful medical assistant’s success.
  • Be compassionate and friendly. Let’s face it. Visits to a hospital or doctor’s office can be scary, emotional, frustrating, and a host of other emotions.  There is blood to be drawn, X-rays to endure, invasive tests to undertake.  Medical assistants can play a key role in helping a patient feel more comfortable with the procedures necessary during a visit.  Medical assistants deal with all types of patient personalities: scared, cranky, hostile, friendly, confused.  Knowing how to control your own emotions on the job while being compassionate and friendly are very valuable skills.
  • Be prepared to work smart under pressure. Health care is a health- and people-driven industry, and many tasks are performed under a lot of pressure. If you are prepared to do your best work under stressful circumstances, then medical assisting might be a great career for you.
  • Be reliable and competent. Your team relies on you to come to work on time, stay the amount of time you have agreed to, and to miss as few days as possible.  Showing up and doing the job as efficiently as you can goes a long way in proving you a valuable resource to the team.
  • Be honest. Much of the work of a medical assistant is vital to the health of patients. It is crucial that all members of the medical team be honest and ethical while dealing with individuals who come to the office for help in what are often vulnerable situations.
  • Be polite but firm. Some patients, and some team members, will be challenging. Keeping your cool, being polite in the face of stress or conflict, all while maintaining a firm demeanor, are helpful traits for almost any career!  Losing your cool is sometimes more detrimental to you than to any intended target.
  • Be meticulous. Health care leaves not much room for error. Be meticulous in your work as your proceed through the day. Double-check your work as you move through the day.
  • Be flexible. On any given day, routine procedures might be disrupted by an emergency.  Medical assistants have to be flexible and ready for any scenario, especially those who work in high-stress settings like emergency departments.
  • Be a team player. All medical assistants work under the supervision of other health care providers.  It is vital that the medical assistant be sensitive to the needs of the team as well as the client.  A strong team player quickly becomes a vital asset to an office or health care facility.
  • Show an ability to learn and grow on the job. Medicine is an evolving field, and best practices one year may be out of date the next.  A good medical assistant is always willing to learn and grow on the job.
  • Know when to ask for help. Not everything that you are asked to do in any given day will make sense.  Speak up if a task or request is baffling to you.  Don’t be afraid of appearing like you do you understand your job.  Asking for help is often a sign of strength and may help you avoid a mistake.

These are just a few thoughts on good traits for medical assistants.  If you are working in the field, what traits have served you well?  We look forward to hearing from you!

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Topics: medical assisting

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PDI - The Professional Development Institute of the University of North Texas - is dedicated to your desire to never stop learning!  "The Knowledge Nook," our blog designed to share best practices, trending topics and other tidbits of information, is a tool to help you as you plot your career path. If you have specific questions, blog topic ideas or comments on particular topics, please let us know! We look forward to learning together.

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