Physical Attributes Of Medical Assistants

As a good and caring medical assistant, appearance is important in patients' perceptions of the delivery of their care. Imparting the look of a professional requires an appearance that is clean and fresh and wholesome; in general, an appearance that reflects good health habits, Figure 1-2. Good personal hygiene practices, weight control, healthy-looking skin, hair, teeth, and nails all contribute to a professional appearance. Rest, good nutrition, regular exercise, and recreation all promote good health.

Female medical assistants should wear appropriate light daytime makeup. For the safety of both the professional and the patient, no necklaces or dangling earrings should be worn. The only jewelry worn should be ear-posts or wedding rings. Hair should be neat and off the collar. Wear only clear, unchipped nail polish. Male medical assistants should be clean-shaven and have short hair. The only jewelry should be a wedding ring. Colognes, perfumes, and after-shave should not be worn at work.

Patient care can place physical demands upon medical assistants. Lifting and moving patients is often required and the use of correct body mechanics will help minimize injuries to the back. While every reasonable accommodation is made for physically challenged medical assistants, to be mobile without assistance is important because medical assistants will move about throughout the day while performing tasks and procedures. It is frequently necessary to bend, stoop, kneel, and crouch, especially when filing and retrieving patients' records, and for other tasks as well. Most procedures require that medical assistants have the ability to hear and see well for the accurate completion of tasks. Listening to blood pressures, taking a medical history, observing patients, performing phlebotomy, and identifying microorganisms under a microscope are some of the routine tasks and procedures performed daily in a medical facility. Manual dexterity is also needed for manipulating certain instruments and for entering data using a computer.

It is important that medical assistants learn to develop the ability to communicate well verbally and non verbally with patients during their jobs. Compliance with the physician's treatment plan is important for a positive outcome of patients' illnesses patients will feel more comfortable and less threatened in a medical office or ambulatory center that encourages staff to keep them informed.