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If you're looking to be a medical assistant, you probably love the idea of helping people. You likely have great interest in health and wellness. Although many people focus on doctors and nurses when thinking about healthcare, medical assistants play a key role in the field.


Consider these 12 essential traits of a medical assistant to see whether this position would be a good fit for you.

1. Communication Skills

Medical assistant talks to a patient

You must be able to translate medical lingo into layman's terms for the patient. For example, if a doctor tells you to report the results of a specific test to a patient, you must be able to paraphrase the doctor's words using language that the patient will understand.

2. Outgoing

Medical assistant and nurse take care of a patient

You need to be proactive when meeting new people, and you must be able to interact professionally with people throughout the day. For example, you may go into a patient's room to deliver medication. You will need to introduce yourself and see how that patient is doing. Next, you may need to take a phone call, then communicate with a new doctor in the hallway. This may be difficult for more withdrawn people.

3. Good Listener

Medical assistant listens to a patient on the phone

Listening is essential in the medical field. Throughout the day, you will need to listen carefully to the needs and concerns of several patients. Nurses and doctors will give you detailed instructions to follow, and you will need to remember all of these things to ensure that no essential detail is forgotten.

4. Compassionate

Compassionate medical assistant with a patient

When patients are experiencing pain, be there to comfort and support them. Even though you may have several patients suffering all at once, you need to go into each room with the attitude that your whole focus is solely on the patient in that room.

5. Nonjudgmental

Medical assistant writes down some notes while talking to a patient

You must never gossip nor hold negative feelings towards those who practice a different lifestyle than you do. For example, you have to be professional and caring whether you are treating a victim of drunk driving or the drunk driver him or herself. You are in this profession to heal, not to harm, and certainly not to judge.

6. Self-Controlled

Medical assistant talks to a doctor

Dealing with death and undesirable test results on a daily basis, a medical office can be an emotional place. Especially when patients blame you for their problems, it may be easy to get angry, upset, or frustrated. As a medical assistant, however, you have to have the self-control to maintain a professional composure no matter what you face.

7. Organized

Medical assistant takes notes during a work meeting

Consider a day in which you will need to take care of multiple patients, fill out necessary paperwork, and communicate with several other people. All of these tasks need to be done at a certain time of the day, and no one can be forgotten. This is a typical day as a medical assistant. Multitasking and efficient organization are key.

8. Adaptable

Medical assistant listens to doctors

You need to be able to bounce back and forth between patient interaction and administrative tasks. You also need to be able to treat all of your patients precisely how they will feel most comfortable. Thus, you must have an adaptable personality.

9. Problem Solver

Medical assistant stays organized at work

You will face patient questions and insurance problems every day. When a supervisor cannot be found, you may have to address difficult issues on your own. Solving problems without making excuses is essential to your work.

10. Follows Directions

Medical assistant listens and takes notes during a meeting

There is no room for disobeying or forgetting the instructions of doctors and nurses. Everything that you do is under their authority. Even if a doctor prescribes a treatment with which you personally disagree, you must follow those instructions.


As you can see, getting a medical assistant associate degree isn't everything. You also need to possess or develop characteristics that will complement what you learned in school. If you don't have all of these traits yet, you can get there. You do have the power within you to make all of these traits your own and become a great medical assistant.


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This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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