Blog / Five Ways to Show Professionalism in the Healthcare Field

Five Ways to Show Professionalism in the Healthcare Field

Are you considering a career in the healthcare field? If you’re interested in a people-focused career, working as a medical office administrator or healthcare administrator may be right for you. Not only is this a rewarding profession that allows you to interact directly with patients, but it also requires less education and training when compared to many other roles in the healthcare field.

One of the most important aspects of working as an office administrator in the healthcare field is demonstrating professionalism not just to patients but also to other healthcare professionals with whom you will interact on a daily basis.

With a better understanding of what the role of a medical office administrator entails and the many ways in which you’ll be expected to show professionalism on the job, you can more confidently determine whether this line of work may be right for you.

What Is a Medical Office Administrator?

Specifically, a medical office administrator is a healthcare professional who handles a wide range of tasks within a medical facility, from interacting with patients when they first enter the building to patient charting, scheduling appointments, and handling electronic medical records (EMR).

Essential Knowledge and Skills

While medical office administrators don’t always provide direct patient care, this can vary based on the job and role.

In some cases, these health professionals do need to conduct basic vital checks and other health assessments. Some primary patient care duties may include measuring a patient’s temperature and pulse to assessing respirations, blood pressure, height, and weight.

Frequently, medical offices hiring these professionals also prefer that they have basic CPR and first aid training.

In addition to this essential health knowledge and skills, medical office administrators may also have the following job responsibilities:

  • Scheduling appointments
  • Patient charting
  • Managing electronic medical records
  • Basic accounting
  • Following healthcare standards and regulations
  • Preparing diagnostic tests
  • Answering phones and emails

The Significance of Professional Conduct in Healthcare

As you can see, office administrators working in the healthcare field have a lot of responsibilities and daily duties to follow. While the exact roles and responsibilities of a medical office administrator may vary from job to job, the reality is that all of these professionals must consistently demonstrate professional conduct.

Often, these medical professionals are the first impression a facility leaves on patients and their loved ones. By acting professionally at all times, it is possible to build patient trust and help the facility establish a strong reputation within the community. Meanwhile, professionalism in this role ensures that potentially sensitive patient information is safeguarded, that industry regulations are followed, and that patients receive the highest level of care at all times.

From mastering soft skills to upholding ethical standards, there are many ways in which these healthcare workers can show professionalism in their everyday work.

1. Emphasizing Soft Skills in Healthcare

Medical office administrators must possess several soft skills or core competencies, especially in daily interactions with patients and other medical staff.

Communication Skills: A Vital Part of Patient Care

Effective communication is perhaps the most important aspect of providing quality care to each patient in a medical office. Communicating verbally and in written form is key as medical office administrators frequently answer phone calls and emails while also interacting with patients face-to-face. Communicating politely and clearly can ensure that patients and other healthcare professionals have the information they need at each appointment.

Emotional Intelligence: Managing Stress and Building Resilience

Medical office administrators must also have a great deal of emotional intelligence, especially when interacting with patients who may be going through a difficult time with their physical or mental health. Likewise, having a high degree of emotional intelligence helps these healthcare professionals act with empathy towards patients and their family members and loved ones who may be attending appointments with them.

Medical office administrators also need emotional intelligence when dealing with their own stress from the job, as this will help them build resilience and perform their jobs with greater confidence.

2. Adapting to the Evolving Healthcare Environment

The healthcare industry is a very dynamic field, with new changes and innovations occurring on a daily basis. Medical office administrators and other healthcare professionals are tasked with staying on top of the latest changes and adapting to new technologies that best serve patients.

Appreciating Technology: Embracing Electronic Health Records

Proper management of electronic health records (EHR) is a vital part of the job for any healthcare professional. However, this is especially true for medical office administrators responsible for keeping these records up-to-date at all times. By understanding the ins and outs of electronic medical records and how they can affect the daily operations of the medical practice, these professionals can keep things running as smoothly as possible.

Staying Updated: Continuous Learning and Training

As new advancements hit the medical field, healthcare professionals are expected to stay updated on innovations, technology, and other noteworthy changes throughout the industry. Because of this, certifications and licensing for many healthcare professions require continuous training and learning to be documented.

Medical office professionals, for example, may need to complete a certain number of training or learning/education hours every few years to continue working in the field. This ongoing learning ensures that healthcare professionals are always up-to-date on the latest ways of doing things.

3. Upholding Ethical Standards in the Healthcare Field

Working in the healthcare field also means upholding specific ethical standards to keep patient information safe and maintain professional relationships with patients.

Confidentiality and PHIPA: Respecting Patients’ Rights

All medical office administrators need to be familiar with the ins and outs of the Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA), which is designed to ensure that all personal health records are collected, stored, used, and shared in a way that prioritizes patient privacy and confidentiality.

Because medical office administrators deal with medical records on a daily basis, they must know how to properly access and store sensitive patient data to ensure that it is kept secure at all times. Medical office administrators must also stay up-to-date on any PHIPA laws and regulations.

Professional Boundaries: Balancing Care and Professionalism

Another challenging aspect for medical professionals is knowing how to balance care and professionalism while respecting boundaries. One example of this balancing act could mean being friendly and approachable to patients and their loved ones without crossing professional boundaries. Likewise, because patients don’t always respect or even recognize these boundaries, healthcare professionals are sometimes faced with the difficult task of reestablishing limitations respectfully and tactfully.

4. Leveraging Specialized Knowledge in Healthcare

Even for healthcare professionals who may not provide direct patient care on a daily basis (such as medical office administrators), it is still important to have some specialized healthcare knowledge and a basic understanding of medical terminology and clinical procedures.

Understanding Medical Terminology: A Key to Professionalism

Healthcare professionals use a lot of jargon and terminology on a daily basis, and even office administrators need to understand this terminology to do their jobs well. Administrators may need to know acronyms for common medical procedures and terms commonly used in medical coding and billing.

By knowing basic medical terminology, medical office administrators can communicate more effectively and confidently with other healthcare professionals and patients who come in or call. In fact, many training programs for medical office assistants will include a specific focus on industry terminology and definitions.

Clinical Procedures: Ensuring Safety and Efficiency

In some cases, medical office administrators may be responsible for scheduling and preparing patients for clinical procedures. Because of this, these healthcare professionals need to understand some of the most commonly performed clinical procedures in their respective offices and the safety and efficiency guidelines that go into these procedures.

Usually, this is something that healthcare professionals receive on-the-job training for—especially since these procedures are often specialized and vary from one medical office to the next. Still, understanding the ins and outs of clinical procedures helps these professionals best prepare patients and answer questions they may have.

5. The Impact of Professionalism on Patient Care

Showing professionalism while working in the healthcare field is undoubtedly essential, especially when it comes to following industry regulations and keeping patient data safe. What some people fail to consider, however, is the impact that a professional demeanor can have on overall patient care. Demonstrating professionalism in a medical setting can significantly enhance the patient experience while helping build trust and credibility.

Creating a Positive Patient Experience: The Role of Professionalism

Think about a time when you visited a medical office and had a positive experience.

More than likely, that experience had at least something to do with how you were treated by the front desk staff and the other medical professionals you encountered during your appointment. Perhaps they went out of their way to smile, welcome you, and make you feel comfortable when you set foot inside the office.

A professional demeanor can go a long way in creating a positive experience for patients and their loved ones. Even small gestures here can make all the difference and help patients feel heard, valued, and cared for.

Trust and Credibility: The Outcome of Professional Conduct

When those working in the healthcare field act professionally, this can also help boost overall trust and credibility at the medical facilities they represent. When patients are consistently provided with a great experience with professional staff at their facilities, these medical offices build credibility in the community. It is also possible that word of the staff’s professionalism may travel, leading to more patients coming in for care.

A little effort goes a long way to boost a facility’s reputation among patients and the local community, so professional demeanor should always be the focus not just for front-office staff—but for every healthcare professional working at a facility.

Pursuing Higher Education for Career Advancement in Healthcare

As you can see, working as a medical office administrator can be challenging every day, bringing forth new obstacles. At the same time, it can also be a rewarding and fulfilling line of work—especially for those who genuinely enjoy helping others and making a difference in patients’ lives.

If you’re up to working as a medical office administrator, the first step is to pursue a formal education from a quality program. At Medix Online, we’re proud to offer a full-time Medical Office Administrator program that can be completed entirely online. This program includes a wide range of learning activities, four hours of live instruction per week and a six-week externship placement to help you gain valuable hands-on experience in this dynamic field.

Interested in learning more about our program? Get in touch or start your online application today.

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