MA Essentials: Things Every Medical Assistant Should Know (2024)

Whether you’re just starting your career or considering changing your existing profession, why not consider joining the medical field as a medical assistant? Typically found on the frontlines of a hospital or doctor’s office, medical assistants work directly with patients and ensure efficient operations of a medical team or department.

Medical assistant duties can vary depending on the size, location, and specialty of the facility in which they work. For a more in-depth look at things every medical assistant should know and how you could get started on this career path, keep reading.

Take The First Step in Your Career Journey Today!

What is a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants collaborate with doctors, typically in outpatient or ambulatory care settings like clinics and medical offices. They serve as the go-betweens for patients and the doctor or medical staff, carrying out both administrative activities and patient care responsibilities.

Despite working closely with doctors, medical assistants are not permitted to counsel patients on their health. They typically gather data and set up the patient and doctor for the appointment.
What Are the Skills of a Medical Assistant?
To fulfill their jobs and contribute effectively to the team, medical assistants need a combination of administrative and healthcare skills. Their expertise keeps the healthcare practice operating efficiently. Some of the abilities you’ll need to succeed as a medical assistant include the following:

Administrative skills
The office work that medical assistants do includes taking phone calls, setting up appointments, and keeping track of patients. Strong time management abilities, attention to detail, and a fundamental understanding of technology and medical records systems are all required.

Communication skills
During an appointment, medical assistants are frequently one of the first people to speak with patients. They may be in charge of getting a patient’s medical history, outlining a procedure, and instructing them on how to take care of their teeth.

Customer service skills
A significant portion of a medical assistant’s primary duties involves interacting with patients. Making a positive first impression by smiling as you greet patients and offering assistance when it’s required will keep patients feeling comfortable. Being warm and pleasant might help reassure clients who are uninitiated or anxious about seeing the doctor.

What Are the Duties of a Medical Assistant?

Are you wondering “what are the duties of a medical assistant?” Medical assistants handle both clinical and administrative functions. They are vital members of any healthcare team tasked with testing and caring for patients. The duties of this role includes between clinical and administrative tasks, ensuring quality patient care.

Medical assistants typically do a wide variety of tasks on any given day. It’s an exciting and rewarding choice for any healthcare professional. Typical duties can include the following:

  • Measure vital signs, such as blood pressure
  • Help physicians with patient examinations
  • Give patients injections or medications as directed by physicians and as permitted by state law
  • Schedule patient appointments
  • Enter patient information into medical records¹

Medical assistants can even specialize in either administrative or clinical work in larger practices or hospitals. Their role is one of flexibility and teamwork to provide the utmost care for patients.

What Are the Traits of a Successful Medical Assistant?

Along with a strong set of skills, medical assistants should possess a few essential traits that will help them start and grow their career.

Courtesy
Medical assistants need to have both empathy and good manners when dealing with patients. Service and patient satisfaction are often prioritized in medical facilities. All healthcare professionals should treat their patients with respect and professionalism when interacting with them.

Attention to Detail
Working as a medical assistant frequently entails gathering patient health data and entering it in their charts or health records. They must therefore pay close attention to detail when they ask the correct questions, record the information (including medical language), and make sure the information they record is precise and thorough.

Integrity
Every day, healthcare professionals—including medical assistants—deal with the private health data of patients. HIPAA requires them to safeguard patients’ privacy. As a result, it is crucial to exercise the best judgment and the greatest levels of honesty.

Dependability
The operation of a healthcare facility depends heavily on medical assistants. Doctors, nurses, and other professionals must rely on the excellent support staff since they frequently wear numerous hats.

These characteristics make a fantastic foundation for a list of desirable traits as a Medical Assistant.

How Do I Become a Medical Assistant?

A medical assistant is a popular career choice. There’s a growing demand for quality healthcare care in numerous settings like hospitals, clinics, and senior care facilities. In fact, the employment of medical assistants has been projected to grow 18 percent from 2020 to 2030.²
But what type of education and training is required to become a medical assistant?

Get a High School Diploma
Most states and employers require at least a highschool diploma to begin a medical assistant career. A few states require no formal educational requirements, with medical assistants learning through on-the-job training. But a secondary school education is a minimum for most.

Attend a Certified Program
In the majority of states, there are no formal educational requirements to become a medical assistant, however employers may favor hiring assistants who have successfully completed certain courses. Medical assisting programs can be found at community colleges, technical schools, universities, and vocational schools. They last around a year to complete. Typically, these courses result in a certificate or degree.

Clinical Medical Assistant Training is a Great Place to Start Your Career in Healthcare

Now that you know the things every medical assistant should know, you may be asking if there a medical assistant program near me? Blue Cliff College can provide the training you need to achieve your career goals as a medical assistant. You can obtain the skills you need to succeed as a medical assistant by enrolling in our Clinical Medical Assisting (CMA) diploma program.

Our medical assistant program at Blue Cliff College is created with your future in mind. With these courses under your belt, you might be more equipped to take on the healthcare industry and establish a rewarding career.

For those worried about managing school on top of personal obligations need not become a worry. We offer day and night classes for our training program at two of our locations:

Alexandria, LA
Lafayette, LA
Metairie, LA
Gulfport, MS

Blue Cliff College also offers flexible financing plans to those students who qualify. Financial plans vary, depending on the length of the program being financed and the amount of the student’s initial down payment.

Let us answer all your questions! Request enrollment information for Blue Cliff College’s Clinical Medical Assisting program today.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-2
  2. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm#tab-6
MA Essentials: Things Every Medical Assistant Should Know (2024)

FAQs

MA Essentials: Things Every Medical Assistant Should Know? ›

Medical assistants must be able to understand medical charts and diagnoses. Communication skills. Medical assistants need to convey important information to patients, such as when scheduling appointments or explaining medical information. Compassion.

What information does a medical assistant need to know? ›

Medical assistants must be able to understand medical charts and diagnoses. Communication skills. Medical assistants need to convey important information to patients, such as when scheduling appointments or explaining medical information. Compassion.

What are the three skills sets that a medical assistant must have? ›

A medical assistant works directly with a physician to take care of patients.

What is the most critical skill of a successful medical assistant? ›

The ability to multitask, stay calm under pressure, communicate effectively, be detail-oriented, and well organized are all essential for success in this field.

What is a hard skill in medical assistant? ›

top 10 medical assistant Hard Skills

Highlight these skills with measurable results. Vital Signs37% Patient Care35% Appointment Scheduling30% Healthcare26%

What makes a medical assistant stand out? ›

Medical Assistants have a lot of Compassion

Offering compassion and understanding of a patient's concerns can go a long way towards the patient's overall satisfaction with the medical care. Medical assistants can take comfort, pride and satisfaction in knowing that they helped change a patient's life for the better.

What are 3 responsibilities of a medical assistant? ›

Medical Assistants handle a wide range of tasks that help doctors and patients alike. They maintain patient records, prepare examination rooms before physicians or nurses need them, assist with exams, complete assignments such as blood drawing, and take temperatures.

What is your weakest skill as it pertains to medical assisting? ›

Sample Answer: My biggest weakness is my ability to multi-task. I'm a very focused individual and can get easily distracted when I have too many things going on at once. I've learned to be more aware of my surroundings and how I can better manage my time.

What are the three top priorities of the medical assistant? ›

The medical assistant's top three priorities are assisting the doctor during the examination, taking vitals, and explaining the medical procedure.

What is the biggest strength of a medical assistant? ›

Medical Assistant Qualities
  1. Being a good communicator. Medical assistants work on the front lines in doctors' offices, clinics, and other healthcare facilities. ...
  2. Compassionate and caring. ...
  3. Patient and Friendly. ...
  4. Able to stay calm under pressure. ...
  5. Technical Skills. ...
  6. Attention to Detail. ...
  7. Analytical. ...
  8. Stamina.
Apr 11, 2023

What type of medical assistant makes the most money? ›

Top 5 Highest Paid Medical Assistant Specialties
  • Podiatry Medical Assistant.
  • Medical Assistants with Insurance Skills.
  • Fertility Medical Assistant.
  • Cardiology Medical Assistant.
  • Ophthalmology Medical Assistant.
Mar 27, 2024

What are the 7 soft skills? ›

7 essential soft skills in demand
  • Teamwork. With effective teamwork, teams are more productive, deadlines are met, relationships with your team members are stronger and knowledge is shared. ...
  • Problem solving. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Adaptability. ...
  • Critical thinking. ...
  • Time management. ...
  • Interpersonal.

How can I succeed as a medical assistant? ›

8 Tips for New Medical Assistants
  1. Take each day as it comes. ...
  2. Always keep track of your performance during training as well as when you start in your new career. ...
  3. Learn how to multitask. ...
  4. Be open to criticism. ...
  5. Find a routine that works for you. ...
  6. Be observant. ...
  7. Know the provider you're working for. ...
  8. Be a team player.
Oct 20, 2021

What is the most challenging experience as a medical assistant? ›

Emotional Toll

A career as a medical assistant can be very rewarding when you help patients feel better and taken care of. However, you will also experience the dying and deaths of patients and grieving families. This can take an emotional toll on you and lead to sadness or hopelessness.

What is the number one skill a medical support assistant should have? ›

Entry-level Medical Support Assistants must master the core skills of medical administration, including patient scheduling, medical record keeping, and basic billing procedures. They should be adept at using healthcare software for data entry and possess strong organizational skills to manage patient flow effectively.

What is your greatest strength as a healthcare assistant? ›

Healthcare assistant skills and qualities
  • Effective communication skills.
  • An empathetic and sympathetic manner.
  • Dedication and reliability.
  • A passion for supporting people.
  • Organisation.
  • Good observation skills.
  • Patience.
  • Confidence.
Mar 14, 2023

What should a medical assistant know regarding Hipaa? ›

Medical assistants should be aware of what rights a patient has under HIPAA law. An understanding of the law better protects a medical assistant from infringing on patient rights. Patients have several rights regarding their information, such as: Patients can access and copy their records for their own recordkeeping.

What should the medical assistant take into consideration list at least 3 things to consider? ›

The medical assistant should take into consideration the patient's medical history, any allergies the patient may have, the patient's age and weight, and the type of medication being administered.

What to know as a new medical assistant? ›

Day-to-Day Medical Assistant Skills and Duties
  • Record patient history and personal information.
  • Measure vital signs.
  • Administer injections or medications.
  • Schedule patient appointments.
  • Arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services.
  • Perform basic laboratory tests.
  • Assist physicians during an exam.
Nov 22, 2016

What should you bring to a medical assistant interview? ›

Make sure to have everything you'll need for the interview, such as:
  • Extra copies of your resume.
  • A list of references.
  • A notepad and pen.

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