5 Things Medical Assistants Learn on the Job

Angie Best-Boss is an award-winning freelance medical writer, editor and author of seven books on women's health.


Patience

"When I first started working as a medical assistant at the doctor's office, it was a really busy place. I was answering phones and updating charts and checking in patients. I hardly took the time to breathe. It was so busy that I lost a patient's insurance card in all the paperwork, and for some reason it just really upset me. She could see that I was frustrated, and she said to me, 'It's all right. It's not the end of the world, but maybe it would help if you just slowed down.' I took her advice and paused for a couple of seconds. I learned the job is easier when you don't rush yourself. You make fewer mistakes."
Dawn M. - on the job 7 years

Problem Solving

"Sometimes I deal with upset patients. It could be they've had a bad day, or they are struggling to get an insurance claim settled. I learned that if I stay calm and listen to them, I can do more than just answer their questions and work out problems. I can actually make them feel better. It's a good feeling knowing that you can make that kind of difference for someone."
Erin M. - on the job 2 years

Teamwork

"There's a lot going on in the pediatrician's office where I work. The doctors and nurses and medical assistants have all learned how to work together. I think we work so well together because we are all focused on our kids, the patients. Getting them checked in, updating their charts, getting them examined by the doctor, finding a way to fix the ouchies and booboos - we've made it a science. We can anticipate what needs to happen next and take care of business."
Jamie L. - on the job 18 months

Grief

"I started working in a private practice, but I moved to a hospital when my family relocated to Georgia. Working as a medical assistant in a hospital brought a new set of challenges. Sometimes we lose patients, and that can be really hard to deal with. But I've learned how to handle my own grief and help families through those really hard times. It's not like I woke up one day and said, 'I want to be a grief counselor,' but I think I'm a better person for the skills I've learned here."
Corinne W. - on the job 12 years

Self-Confidence

"Being a medical assistant has been challenging - there is so much you have to know and so much you are responsible for when it comes to a patient's health and privacy - but succeeding at my job has really built up my self-esteem. In fact, I have enrolled in nursing school now. And because I have a really solid background in the health care industry, I feel like I'm more prepared for the coursework. I'm on track to be an RN in just a couple more years."
Brittany J. - on the job 4 years


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