How MAs Have To Think On Their Feet

medical assistants

In baseball parlance, Medical Assistants are the "utility players" of the health care delivery system. They perform a myriad of tasks ranging from administrative to clinical. They also can work anywhere from physicians' offices (85 percent work in this setting), hospitals, home care, and hospice care. Medical Assistants often are the first and last faces a patient sees during a visit to his or her doctor.

Medical Assistants do it all. As such, the ability to think quickly on their feet and adjust and react quickly to various situations is a must. To help Concorde's MA students and alumni in their careers or pursuits thereof, we sought some tips from a Concorde Program Director on how to think and react quickly to situations, as well as some well-known tips on how to be a valuable MA.

Matching pace with the heartbeat of the patient

"Medical Assistants are the heart of the medical office," said Shalon Bess-Orr, MA/Medical Office Administration Program Director for Concordes campus in Miramar, Fla. "In other words, MAs are the pulse. The human body cannot and will not survive without a heartbeat."

"An MA must be upbeat and ready to move at every given moment while at work. The flow of the office is melodious when you have the right tone set."

As such, Bess-Orr said Medical Assistants must be able to react to any situations using not only their clinical skills but their critical thinking skills as well.

"The impact and the reputation of an office are developed and framed as one unit to include the physician and his or her assistants," she said. "Just like a heart with its moving parts, a Medical Assistant should know the office ins and outs and be able to work simultaneously alongside the provider to ensure patient satisfaction is guaranteed."

5 characteristics of valuable Medical Assistants

Aside from a diploma or degree, there are essential traits any aspiring MA should embrace in order to be successful in his or her career. While a diploma or degree will ensure an employer you are knowledgeable, the following personal characteristics can set you apart from other candidates as someone a physician or provider would want to add to their staff.

  • Organization. To handle all of the various responsibilities that fall upon Medical Assistants, possessing solid organizational skills is a must.
  • Stress management. All the multitasking can cause stress in itself, not to mention working in an atmosphere which can present life-and-death situations on a daily basis. It is vital that Medical Assistants have strong coping mechanisms to deal with such stresses.
  • A good listener. Much of an MA's responsibilities revolve around reporting on patient conditions, recording relayed information from doctors and tending to patients' concerns. All of which requires good and attentive listening skills.
  • Compassion. Having a strong sense of empathy with patients enables the MA to communicate better and connect with their patients.
  • A problem-solver. Unexpected conditions can always arise, so it's important for an effective MA to be able to think quickly and clearly at a moment's notice. The ability to stay on their feet throughout the day also is crucial to maintaining order in the medical setting.
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