If you’re interested in a career in the medical field, Medical Assisting is one avenue to pursue. If you have what it takes to be a Medical Assistant, you can fulfill your passion for helping people and feel good about doing productive, important work. And you’ll be in a professional setting, working as part of a healthcare team. You could work in a physician’s office, nursing home, clinic, outpatient facility, rehabilitative clinic, or Hospital.
Medical Assistant Skills
No matter where you work, these are a few of the core skills that you’ll need to have and how you can acquire them:
Wait, what? Customer service?? I thought I’d be taking care of patients.
You will! But if you’ve ever worked in retail or food service, those customer service skills can transfer to the medical field. In the medical world, it’ll be called your bedside manner, and it’s an important skill for any medical professional to have. As a Medical Assistant, you’ll often be the first point of contact for patients when they arrive to an appointment. You’ll sign them in, take their vital signs, measure their height and weight, and provide them with further instruction. And if you really hone your people skills, you just may be able to put their doctor’s office-induced nerves at ease.
Verbal and Written Communication Skills
In some ways, your job might be like a medical “administrative assistant.” You may need to make and answer phone calls, contact patients to remind them of appointments and be in touch with insurance companies and labs. You’ll also have to answer questions via email, return missed calls, and place orders for medical supplies.
All those communication skills might come naturally to you, but you’ve probably also learned a lot about effective communication on jobs you’ve already held. And if you haven’t honed your communication skills, it’s not too late. Practice your listening skills—you can’t help patients if you don’t pay attention to what they say—and be clear when you speak and write. Ask yourself: am I getting my point across as clearly as I can?
Your day-to-day as a Medical Assistant will be organized around the demands of your patients and the healthcare staff you work with. There will probably be processes in place to handle schedules and files and important insurance requirements. You’ll need to get on board to what they do, but if you already possess strong organizational skills, you’ll be halfway there. If you don’t, it’s time to start practicing. Start at home by creating lists of things like chores, groceries, important contacts and go-to babysitters. Check out calendar and scheduling apps to learn different systems and processes for scheduling. Make this the year you organize your life!
Accuracy and Detail-Oriented
It probably comes as no surprise that when you work in the medical field, you need to be accurate. You need to make sure you follow doctors’ and nurses’ orders to the T. Mistakes cost time and money, and more importantly they could even harm patients.
This is another skill you can brush up on at home or at a current job. Just double check what you do. Start by reading through emails and notes multiple times for errors. Make lists, maintain a schedule for yourself, and start limiting the distractions around you such as music and TV.
Of course, if you’re going to work in a medical facility, you’ll need to have medical knowledge. To properly talk with physicians and to answer patients’ questions, you’ll need to understand medical terminology. You’ll also need to know about human anatomy, as well as basic medical skills such as first aid, drawing blood, and dressing a wound. And you’ll need an understanding on technologies and regulations such as Electronic Health Records (EHR) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) compliance. There’s a lot to know!
Check Out Our Medical Assistant Program at Charter College
The way to learn all that is to go to school. At Charter College, you can earn a Medical Assistant certificate in Alaska, California, New Mexico, Montana and Washington in as little as 10 months. It even includes a 180-hour externship so you can bring all you’ve been taught into a real-world medical setting. Then, once you’ve graduated and pass a national certification test, you can further your education through our degree completion Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) in Medical Assistant program. Add to what you know and stand out in the eyes of employers.
To learn more, call 888-200-9942 or fill out the form.