How to Start Your First Medical Assisting Job Off Right
After you complete your externship and graduate from a Medical Assisting program, you only have one hurdle left before you become a Medical Assistant: Starting your first Medical Assisting job. You’ve chosen a career field that’s growing, which increases your chances of being hired, but finding that first job can still be a challenge, so you need to make sure you start it well.
We’ve seen a lot of students go through our Medical Assisting program in Utah, and our instructors have worked as Medical Assistants themselves. We know what qualities and decisions can make you a great MA from the first day, so when you start your first Medical Assisting job, consider these four tips.
1. Learn the organization
Often, as a Medical Assistant, you’re primarily responsible for the patient flow. It’s your job to ensure things operate smoothly and efficiently—so you need to ensure you understand how things operate from your first day. Learn the organization by learning how the office or clinic is organized. Pay close attention to filing systems, to the specific terminology used, and to the process for admitting patients, especially your role in it. By the time you’ve finished school, you know you need to be organized as a Medical Assistant, so by the time you begin your first Medical Assisting job, you should immediately learn the organizational structure of your new workplace.
2. Be teachable
That’s the advice Carrie Hammond, the director of our Medical Assisting program in Draper, Utah, gives again and again: Be teachable. Hopefully in school you’ve learned every basic skill you need as a Medical Assistant, but you’ve also learned that every practice is unique and will require different things of you. You should enter your first Medical Assisting job with confidence in your competence and ability to relate to the patients, but you also have to remain teachable. Listen to the other Medical Assistants, and learn from them. Talk regularly with the physicians, asking their advice and tips for performing your duties well. Teachability is a quality you’ll need throughout your career, even if you stay at your first practice until you retire. The healthcare field is constantly changing, so you always need to be in a position to learn.
3. Prioritize your patients
Ultimately, your first responsibility is to your patients, your second is to your physician, even if s/he is your employer. You often have some control over their wellbeing and peace of mind, both of which factor into their satisfaction with the care they receive at your practice or clinic. Since your patients are your customers, you have to make sure they’re happy and satisfied, otherwise the practice won’t succeed. Some physicians want to be priority number one, but if you demonstrate that you’re putting patients first to help them, it can garner more respect.
Related Resource: Signs You Might Be a Great Pediatric Medical Assistant
4. Befriend your coworkers
This is practical advice for anyone starting their first job, but it can be especially important for Medical Assistants, who often work in more intimate workplaces. There’s a good chance you’ll know all of your coworkers, so it’s wise to cultivate those relationships from the start. Older, more established Medical Assistants can offer you a lot of advice and support as you’re starting your career, and others who are also new to the practice can be good companions for the shared experience. Befriending your coworkers can make you better at what you do—and it can help you enjoy your first Medical Assisting job even more!
5. Remember you’re making a difference
Almost anyone can eventually learn the procedures and tasks that Medical Assistants do, but fewer can work with the passion to improve patients’ lives, which is an essential quality in Medical Assisting. Most enter the field wanting something more than a paycheck: They want to make a difference, to really help people when they’re ill and often frightened or worried. However hectic and overwhelming your first days and weeks are, remember you’re making a difference. You’re working with people who need compassion and support, and if you’re doing your job well, you’re providing both of those things.
Related Resource: The Most (and Least) Expected Places to Work As a Medical Assistant
At Ameritech College of Healthcare we want to help our students begin their new careers well, to be the best Medical Assistants possible from day one of their first Medical Assisting job. Our curriculum is designed to train our students, emotionally and practically, to begin work as a Medical Assistant in less than a year. If you’re interested in learning more, contact us for information about the program. We always love to hear from you!