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medical office assistant course

Communication is vital for most professionals in the medical industry, but especially for office assistants. As a large part of their role involves interacting with patients both in person and over the phone, being able to communicate clearly, patiently and professionally is a tremendous asset.

In order to perform these responsibilities well, students in medical assistant programs should be aware of the impact these competencies can have in the workplace, and devote special attention to improving their communication abilities. Here are three tips that can make you a better communicator as your progress in your career.

Medical Office Assistants Should Hone Their Listening Skills

Effective communication skills do not solely depend on one’s ability to speak, but also on their capacity to listen. One of the main responsibilities of medical assistants is to obtain information from individuals required for hospital and medical services and then pass it on to physicians and other medical professionals. This information can be sometimes be complex or even sensitive, and being able to relay it accurately is of the utmost importance.

For those working in a medical facility with multiple departments, such as a hospital, fully listening to clients may also help in directing them to other appropriate services or contacts and providing them with additional information related to their request.

As a result, it is crucial that professionals in this field focus their full attention on listening to patients, and take in the full extent of what they are saying. Medical office assistants should not be afraid to seek clarifications from patients or ask them to repeat themselves if they do not fully understand what they are being told, and should always listen attentively while a patient is speaking, avoiding the temptation to become sidetracked or distracted.  It can also be helpful to have a notepad, either in paper or in digital form, close to hand to take down any pertinent details.

medical assistant program

Being a good listener is important in medical office assistant courses

Medical Assistant Program Graduates Should Be Polite

When greeting patients and scheduling appointments, it is crucial for graduates of a medical assistant program to communicate respectfully and with proper etiquette during conversations. While some patients can occasionally become frustrated or even disrespectful towards you, it is important to keep in mind is that these individuals are seeking help regarding their health and it is your responsibility to aid them professionally.  

Some patients may be nervous or stressed and find it difficult to control their behaviour, and it is usually nothing personal. Also, medical office assistants should keep in mind that they are representing the facility they work in, and that their professionalism is a reflection of the organization.

Medical office assistants may also sometimes need to ask sensitive or private questions to obtain certain information. Asking for this in a respectful, empathetic manner, and explaining the reasoning behind the request can put patients at ease and make them more comfortable sharing personal details.

Medical Office Assistants Should Remember to Keep Things Simple

During their education, students in medical assistant courses receive basic training in medical language and terminology in order to ensure they can easily understand and assist other members of their team.

However, it is important to remember that most patients will not have this level of knowledge. When providing them with information, it is important to explain things to them in a way that they can understand, using simple language whenever possible and explaining any more complex terms.

medical assistant courses

Speaking simply to patients can be very helpful

Additionally, many patients can find systems for scheduling appointments and consultations, hospital admissions procedures, or medical forms confusing and difficult to understand. A good medical office assistant will anticipate this, and explain processes and procedures clearly and slowly to them. Doing this will help the patient feel better cared for, while also ensuring a smoother and more efficient patient intake process.

Are you ready to begin a medical office assistant course?

Contact Oxford College for more information about our programs.