Medical Assistant Skills

Important Skills

The next chapters address a medical assistant’s professional skills, traits and various responsibilities that are essential to serving patients in an ambulatory medical office setting. It further goes into educating patients that are about to be referred, admitted and treated in an in-patient medical care setting. Some of these responsibilities typically include patient teaching, coordinating referrals and appointments, assisting with emergency procedures, small surgeries, patient education, health insurance regulations and concerns of the terminally ill patient. Knowing the law and mastering these  skills provides a solid base from which a medical assistant can grow as a successful member of the modern health care team.

It is of vital importance that a new medical assistant knows applicable state laws, local scope of practice regulations and acquires a good grasp on skills and knowledge beyond basic patient care procedures and medical care philosophies.

  • Medical Assistant Personal Traits
  • Medical Assistant Professional Practice
  • Medical Assistant Communication – It is important that medical assistants understand the communication process and the techniques used to promote open, honest, and effective interactions.
  • Medical Assistant Reporting and Charting – Medical assistants often spend more time with patients than other medical office members. This places them in a key position as data collecting persons.
Medical Assistant Skills Chart

Depending on where you work and in which type of facility, basic skills include:

  • Administering injections
  • Drawing blood
  • Ordering supplies & equipment needed to keep the facility running smoothly
  • Preparing the exam room for the physician
  • Scheduling appointments for patients
  • Taking vital signs
  • Recording patient medical history

For medical assistants, it’s all about job-specific and interpersonal skills – a real people person. The skills below were sourced from a variety of government and higher education institution websites.

Administrative Skills

  • Advocating for Patients with Insurance Companies
  • Arranging for Hospital Admissions and Laboratory Services
  • Completing Patient Records After Exams and Test Results
  • Entering Data for Medical Test Results
  • Facility with Medical Practice Software
  • Identifying Best Suppliers by Price and Quality
  • Maintaining Confidentiality
  • Monitoring Inventory of Supplies
  • Ordering Medical Supplies
  • Processing Insurance Forms
  • Reconciling Co-Payments
  • Recording Medical Histories
  • Resolving Insurance Billing Problems
  • Scheduling Appointments
  • Screening Sales Reps

Office Skills

  • Answering Telephones
  • Customer Service
  • Handling Correspondence, Billing, and Bookkeeping
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft Word
  • Troubleshooting Computer Problems
  • Writing

Medical Skills

  • Administering Medications According to Physician Specifications
  • Administering Injections
  • Applying Dressings
  • Arranging Prescription Refills
  • Conveying Information Supplied by Doctors to Patients
  • Drawing Blood
  • Following Infection Control and Safety Guidelines
  • Maintaining Medical Equipment
  • Maintaining Quality Control Standards
  • Performing Accurate Assessment of Vital Signs
  • Performing All Basic Life Support (BLS) Skills
  • Performing CPR
  • Performing EKGs
  • Preparing Treatment Rooms for  Examinations of Patients
  • Relaying Patient Questions to Health Professionals
  • Removing Sutures
  • Securing Blood and Urine Samples
  • Sterilizing and Setting Up Instruments

Patient Skills

  • Educating Patients Regarding Medication Instructions
  • Explaining Medical Information in Understandable Language
  • Explaining Procedures to Patients
  • Handling Difficult Personalities
  • Interviewing Patients
  • Preparing Patients for Exams
  • Receiving Patients
  • Remaining Calm with Distressed Patients
  • Triaging Patients

Interpersonal Skills

  • Accuracy
  • Active Listening
  • Adaptability
  • Collaboration
  • Detail Orientation
  • Empathy
  • Foreign language, such as Spanish
  • Interpersonal
  • Manual Dexterity
  • Multitasking
  • Organizational
  • Prioritizing
  • Problem Solving
  • Recognizing Limitations
  • Teamwork


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