Traits to Look for in Medical Assistants

As one of the fastest growing healthcare professions, medical assistants (MAs) are becoming increasingly important in hospitals and clinics around the country. As part of the support team working alongside doctors and nurses, MAs perform vital clerical duties that would otherwise slow down your clinical team.

Since a medical assistant generally has limited official training (and some even learn on the job) you can’t simply look at their resume to evaluate their professional abilities. Instead, there are a few key traits that define successful medical assistants. Here’s what to look for when hiring.

 Medical assistants should be…

Great communicators

In their role as liaisons between doctors, nurses, and patients, MAs need to be quick on their toes when it comes to communication. Since a single misunderstanding can be disastrous, clear and accurate communication is a must.


Health care is known for dulling one’s sensibilities when it comes to tragedy, so those entering the field must already have a strong sense of empathy and compassion. Patients can tell the difference, and the best medical professionals are always those who care most.

A good listener

Many MAs spend much of their day trailing doctors and taking notes. Though they also should be confident enough to ask to have something repeated, it’s best to choose candidates who pay attention the first time.


All medical professionals will eventually come across something that sends their jaw to the floor (and though those moments become less frequent with experience, they never disappear). Regardless, compassionate workers understand that their role is to help, not to judge. Since even mild displays of surprise can deeply grieve an embarrassed patient, look for candidates who let their empathy override negative reactions.


As a clerk and record-keeper, an MA must be extremely organized and capable of tracking multiple projects at once. High-quality patient care depends on a smooth flow of information, and medical assistants are among the primary guardians of this workflow.


Changing gears between patients or between projects can require rapidly switching from one mindset to another. If an applicant doesn’t seem capable of thinking on the fly, they might not be cut out for the job.

A problem-solver

Since medical assistants fill a niche role in most facilities, they rarely have a large team to fall back on. If they are unable to think through problems on their own, there may not be anyone else around who can solve the problem for them. As such, you should give priority to candidates who can demonstrate their critical thinking ability.

If you’re looking for talented candidates to fill a medical assistant’s role in your facility, HireCare can help. Not only can we access a vast pool of MAs in your area, we offer a complete staffing solution for diverse allied health positions. To find out more about our comprehensive staffing services, contact us today.


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