6 Soft Skills Needed to Be Successful as a Medical Assistant

Posted by Tim Teague on 2/19/19 11:00 AM

Aspiring Medical Assistants are understandably excited by their new passion. They’ve found a great career opportunity that allows them to help others. It may also be a stepping-stone to further advancement within the healthcare industry, including becoming a nurse or doctor. However, it is important to remember that special abilities are required for this challenging profession. 

Successful Medical Assistants should focus on the following Top 6 “soft skills” in order to excel and best care for patients:

Empathy –

The ability to understand someone’s situation and walk in another person’s shoes is often innate but can also be developed. Empathy is perhaps the most important trait for people who work in healthcare. It’s easy for all of us to get lost in the day-to-day workload and forget that our behavior affects others. But, it’s critical that medical workers always focus on the “human touch.”

Listening –

Healthcare professionals regularly hear the same diagnoses, symptoms and test results throughout the day. Like anything, it can become routine. However, things that personally affect your patients are anything but routine for them. It’s important to REALLY listen to what they say. Sometimes a small detail makes all of the difference in managing their care.

Communication –

Like listening, strong communication is an incredibly important skill for Medical Assistants. Healthcare experts sometimes forget that everyday people are unfamiliar with medical terminology. Never assume that a patient knows the definition of a certain diagnosis. Always explain test results carefully and highlight what the indicators mean to them and their health.

Attention to Detail

This goes without say, but getting things “right” is critical in a clinical setting. The consequences of mixing-up blood or urine samples can be devastating to multiple innocent parties. Take the time to double-check labels. Always document immediately and review test results several times before reporting them to patients.

Patience –

Healthcare professionals work with many different types of patients. The world is filled with unique people. Some are pleasant and others are more difficult. The old saying goes, “patience is a virtue.” However, patience is a necessity in a physician’s office or clinic!

Conflict Resolution –

Difficult situations will arise for those who work in healthcare. The difference between a “good” Medical Assistant and a “mediocre” one often lies in their ability to resolve conflicts. First, it’s important to always stay level-headed and not resort to anger or visible frustration. Then, if you reach an impasse with a patient, don’t assume there’s no answer. Look for solutions that maintain your integrity and best practices but also satisfy the patient. Whether verifying insurance coverage or scheduling in a busy calendar, there’s usually a solution if you search hard enough.

Organizations that recruit medical assistants, nurses and other healthcare professionals should also research how staffing and VMS technology solutions help to identify candidates with strong “soft skills.”


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