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Medical assisting is one of the fastest growing jobs in an already expanding sector. You know you want to continue your education with CCNN and pursue a career as a medical assistant, but how do you impress once you land that first job? What practical steps can you take to ensure an accomplished career? Here are 7 useful tips for finding success as an entry-level medical assistant:
1. Arrive Early
If you get to work 10-15 minutes early each day, you’ll have time to get organized, centered, and prepared for the day. This will make you look good, but it will also help you maintain calm throughout a busy day.
2. Be Self-sufficient
Don’t wait to be told to do things you know need to be done. For example, if a patient had tests done at their previous visit and the results are not in the chart, call and get them.
Similarly, anticipate needs. To ensure the provider has what she needs for any patient’s visit, ask yourself questions such as: what is the patient here for? What exams should I prep for? Should I take any samples now? What tests might we need to run?
3. Use a Cheat Sheet
Medical assistants have a lot to remember every day, and the provider’s preferences are part of that. It can be hard to keep all the details straight: which doctor likes what glove size, how does my boss want her suture set-up to be organized, does my provider want me to complete a urinary analysis before he meets with the patient? If you remember all the details, you’ll stand out quickly. So, write them down or keep them in your phone until you memorize them.
4. Document Carefully and Clearly
When filling out charts and records, organization and legible writing are essential. There are plenty of technical terms and medications to remember, so write them down to aid you with correct spelling. You can even use a pocket-sized guide such as the Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopeia to reference as you keep records and charts.
5. Learn from Your Coworkers
Medical assistants who have been in the field for a while have a lot of good advice. Eat lunch with them and befriend them because you’ll need to learn from their experience. Learn from the nurses and doctors as well. Some MAs find the physicians they work for intimidating, but you should establish a professional and friendly rapport with them. Once you feel less intimidated, you’ll be a better collaborator, and collaboration is key to making the workplace run smoothly and to making you look professional and competent.
6. If you See Something, Say Something
It can be intimidating to point out an error when you’re new on the job, but if you do it graciously, it will make you look like an expert. If you see something recorded incorrectly in a chart or find a prescription that’s inaccurate, build up your courage and speak up. Your colleagues and supervisors will see that you have the patient’s best interest at heart.
7. Bedside Manner
Yes, this is a soft skill, but it’s essential. Almost everyone has had a bad experience with a medical professional who didn’t seem to care or was too abrupt. Your bedside manner can make or break your career. To offer more practical advice, here’s what good patient care looks like:
- Introduce yourself and explain your role in the patient’s care.
- Be friendly and upbeat. Make eye contact, use open body language, and express empathy.
- Listen actively: don’t interrupt, and try repeating the gist of what someone said back to them to ensure you understood.
Remember these tips when you’re out there pursuing your career goals! For now, join us at CCNN to prepare for your first medical assistant job. Learn more about our program here.