Skills for a Medical Assistant

Learn the skills it takes to help
Learn the skills it takes to help (Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images)

Working alongside every medical practitioner is a dependable medical assistant. Medical assistants with reliable skills are in high demand; according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of medical assistants is expected to grow 34 percent from 2008 to 2018, much faster than the average for all occupations. Mastering skills such as employability, computer and communication will put you on the fast track to a career in the medical field.

Employability Skills

Projecting a positive attitude is a skill that is often overlooked, but it is a big part of being a medical assistant. The Department of Labor states that “medical assistants deal with the public; therefore, they must be neat and well-groomed and have a courteous, pleasant manner, and they must be able to put patients at ease and explain physicians' instructions." You must posses the ability to work in a team environment as well as adapt independently. Practice professionalism and present yourself with a positive perception even in negative situations.

Performance Skills

Writing, typing and dictating are essential medical assistant skills. You must be detail-oriented and keep neat and legible records. According to the BLS, medical assistants perform administrative and clinical tasks to keep the offices of health practitioners running smoothly. Tasks include building spreadsheets, emailing, faxing, translating and communicating appropriate information. Demonstrate the ability to multitask by following instructions and returning results in a timely manner.

Computer Skills

As a medical assistant, you must be proficient in a variety of software programs, such as word processing. Understanding the fundamentals of database operations is vital; it teaches you to create, alter and add database files.You must posses the skills to integrate software applications as well as retrieve and modify existing files.

Communication Skills

Communication skills are learned from birth; however, the ability to relay information between two parties in a clear, concise manner takes practice. A reliable assistant takes information given by the practitioner and clearly conveys it to the patient. This is important because miscommunication can result in illness or injury. A medical assistant's primary purpose is to assist; therefore, no skill is greater than the ability to give a helping hand.

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