Signs You Could Be a Great Pediatric Medical Assistant
We’ve written about it before: Medical assistants can work in all kinds of medical practices. Wherever there’s a physician, you can find an assistant greeting patients and maintaining medical records nearby. That means, in addition to choosing the kind of medical field you enter, you can also choose the demographics your practice serves. Pediatricians, like all doctors, need medical assistants, and when they hire, most look for applicants who possess certain qualities. To offer some direction, we’ve compiled a few signs that you could be great at pediatric medical assisting.
You Have a Passion for Pediatric Care
One of the most common questions in any interview is: “Why do you want to work here?”
The question is so expected and used so often that most people answer it flippantly, but how you answer always matters, especially if you’re applying to be a pediatric medical assistant. Pediatricians need a full staff of professions who feel passion for their work, not just for their next paycheck. You need to know what you’re getting yourself into, and it should excite you. Pediatric medical assisting can be funny, sad, weird, and exhausting—like everything with kids. The job allows you to see incredible growth in your little patients, watching fearful and temperamental and curious toddlers become individuals. It also gives you the chance to instill a positive experience with healthcare from the youngest age.
Not everyone can or should be a pediatric medical assistant, but a passion for the practice is the first sign you could be a great one.
You Have a Calm Demeanor
Medical assistants tend to be the first person patients encounter when they enter a doctor’s office. Adults know the routine: Step on a scale, measure their height, breathe and cough for the stethoscope. Children, though, tend to find the experience strange, even scary, no matter how many times they’ve visited the doctor. A good pediatric medical assistant will be able to calm kids’ nerves and be assuring, just with her presence. Kindness and warm humor help, but this quality isn’t about being gregarious. If you want to enter pediatrics, it really helps if you’re the sort of person others feel easy and safe around, especially children.
You Speak with Kids on Their Level
Physically and otherwise. Speaking with children at eye level strengthens the communication between you and them. By bending down, or sitting beside them, you demonstrate they’re worth your attention, and that their concerns and emotions are valid. It also helps secure their attention, plus it’s just polite for patients of any age.
Moreover, a good pediatric medical assistant is willing and able to speak with kids in a relatable way. Doctors and their assistants often small talk with patients—but rather than discuss the Oscars or Super Bowl, you should ask kids about Frozen and what television shows they like. Having children yourself, or nieces and nephews can be a big help to know what kids are interested in. The best pediatric medical assistants will be familiar with these things too, allowing them to speak with children about their interests, which can build trust and alleviate more anxiety.
You’re Knowledgeable—and Good at Explaining Things
All good medical assistants know their stuff backwards and forwards, but those in the pediatric fields have to be able to relay that information in a clear and patient way. While most adults never think twice—or rarely once—about opening their mouths for a thermometer, for a lot of kids everything you do will seem mysterious, and potentially worrisome. Pediatric medical assistants have to understand and expect this, and they often need to speak and explain procedures in a way that children will understand. Any medical assisting position requires you know what to do, but with kids you have to know and patiently, repeatedly explain why.
Related Resource: The Diary of a Medical Assistant
Pediatric medical assisting can be an incredible career, especially for those with the right qualities for it. If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, you can earn your degree in less than a year. As always, we’d love to hear from you!