3 Key Traits a Medical Office Assistant Should Have

If you like the idea of running a medical office and interacting with patients, a career as a medical office assistant might just be what the doctor ordered. But there’s more to medical office assisting than having a medical administrative assistant certification. You’ll need to cultivate the personality characteristics that help you stay cool in a fast-paced and sometimes highly-stressful environment. Consider three key traits a medical office assistant should have.

Compassionate Communicator

Strong communication skills are vital in this position. Good listening skills are required for following doctors’ instructions and being mindful of patients’ concerns. You may also have to explain things in layman’s terms. For example, when discussing test results or follow-up care, you will have to rephrase medical terminology in a way that the average person can digest. Taking patient information requires that you diplomatically ask the right questions to get the answers you’re looking for. You will also need to respond compassionately in tense or highly-emotional situations. For instance, interacting with a patient who is having difficulty with an insurance claim or has received devastating news from the doctor can be a hard pill to swallow.

Adaptable Personality

Running a medical office requires you to be a jack of many trades. You will need to be able to prioritize and transition effectively from one task to the next. You may be called upon unexpectedly to answer questions or solve problems, so being flexible and thinking on your feet are crucial in this career. To effectively cultivate those characteristics, you will also have to know how to effectively manage stress.


As a medical office assistant, it’s important to be nonjudgmental– whether you’ve been given directions by a doctor you don’t agree with or you’re working with a patient whose values are different from your own. It’s essential to be polite and professional in all situations.

Like other healthcare personnel, medical office assistants are required to respect patient privacy, as dictated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Professionals in the medical field should never gossip about a patient or share health information with anyone who is not authorized to have it.

Start Your Career on the Right Foot

Becoming a medical office assistant puts you on track for a rewarding career in an in-demand field. If earning your medical administrative assistant certification at Ashworth College sounds like a prescription for success, contact us to learn more or enroll today.