Describing your ideal patient gives you an opportunity to also describe your ideal interaction. When a patient is compliant and easy-going, you have a greater ability to do your best work. Without resistance, you can go through your routine smoothly.
"A good patient responds to my questions clearly, which helps me to know what's going on and take proper action. When they are relaxed, I can get to know them better, because they feel comfortable sharing information. I am sensitive to every patient's needs, always explaining the procedure before I do it, which helps them feel at ease."
Many individuals enter the medical field by starting as a medical assistant. Tell the interviewer that you enjoy helping people, that you're interested in working in an environment where you are constantly learning. Think about your future career plans. Do you intend to further your education by becoming a nurse? Discuss how this new position fits into your career goals. Share why you're excited about working in the medical field and what you're looking forward to.
"I have always been passionate about helping others and assisting patients. I have aspirations to become a nurse one day. This is my first step towards those goals."
The best way to answer this question is by giving an example. The best way to show off your people-skills is to share how you have interacted with patients or coworkers in the past.
"I love working with people. I try my best to be flexible and open in the workplace, understanding that things can change quickly. I also want to stay on good terms with my coworkers, so if I sense a conflict arising, I will be sensitive in addressing it before it escalates."
Tell the interviewer what you say to patients when you first meet them, and how you make them feel more comfortable. First impressions are important in your job. If you rub a patient the wrong way, the rest of your interactions with them may feel tense or uncomfortable. Recognizing that your words and gestures can affect another person takes self-awareness.
"I like patients to feel like we're on the same level, so I make sure not to use language that doesn't make sense to them. I try not to throw out too many medical terms that could be confusing to them. I always ask them how their day is going, making them feel at ease by being positive and upbeat."
Whether you have experience as a medical assistant or this is your first job, talk about one of the challenges or tedious tasks that you anticipate will be difficult or less than enjoyable. Be careful not to seem like you are easily irritated. Share something small.
"I'm a people person and I enjoy working with patients, but when it comes to paperwork, I find it tedious. I understand it is a part of the job, so I try to keep a good attitude."
Talk about some of the helpful things you learned in school. The medical terminology you learned is invaluable. It takes a lot of focus and dedication to learning about the body and how it works. Share how you applied yourself in school. Your discipline will pay off well in the medical field. Learning how to prioritize time and memorize important terms will benefit you greatly. Tell the interviewer some of the top skills you learned.
"Most of my medical education came through experience. My schooling, however, did teach me discipline and responsibility. I never take any job for granted and always give my best effort."
Working in the medical field gives you exposure to new situations and people every day. You are constantly learning. Helping people in need is also a great desire. Talk about an aspect you enjoy most.
"I enjoy helping people and getting to know people from all different backgrounds. I enjoy my staff and learning from doctors and patients all day long."
The best thing you can do when dealing with someone who is upset is staying calm. Give an example that shows you can relate to patients and help them to calm down. Empathy, understanding, and allowing a patient to vent if needed are all helpful ways you can handle an upset patient. Show off your skills! Articulate how well you can deal with challenging patients.
"One of my patients was is severe pain. I worked quickly to go through my assessment and I stayed calm the entire time. By me just being relaxed, the patient began to relax."
Typically, this is not a requirement for most medical assistant job's. However, if you do have management experience it can be a bonus. Just be sure to reassure the interviewer that you are ok working under authority and taking direction; if you have previous managerial experience. Some more tips; you can also consider sharing your leadership qualities, explaining that in your past work environment you led by example. Talk about how you are proactive in solving problems and how you bring the team together.
"I am looking forward to this role because of the opportunity to take on new responsibilities. One of my goals is to work in a management role."
The interviewer wants to know your communication style. If you love spending time with your friends, energized by good conversations, prefer to work in a group of people than alone then you are a people person. Explain how you enjoy working with others at work, whether with coworkers or patients, or both! For a Medical Assistant interivew, it's better to come off as a people person.
"I enjoy working as a team at work because I learn so much from my coworkers. I like being able to support others and help out in any way I can. You can learn so much from people, especially your patients."
Multitasking is tricky! Sometimes it's impossible to juggle five different things at once. Show enthusiasm and confidence when you give your example. You can handle it! Give the interviewer confidence that you can do it!
"On busy days I help out at the front desk. I often have to bounce back and forth between answering phones, scheduling appointments and assisting patients in the office. I've gotten used to it and I enjoy the variety and the challenge."
A tough patient might be someone who was angry or had a bad attitude. It could also be someone who had an impairment that made it difficult for you to communicate with them. In your example, focus on how you handled the situation, rather than the issue that made it difficult.
"I had a patient with a hearing impairment. I didn't have a lot of experience with this and I didn't know sign language. We figured out a solution together. I wrote him a message asking if we could communicate in writing, and we ended up writing messages back and forth. It was much easier to deal with than I expected! Sometimes you just have to get creative!"
Start by explaining what you liked about your current employer. Focus on the positives! Next, share that you want to leave to pursue better opportunities. You really don't need to get into the details of what's missing from your last job. Focus on what you want to accomplish in your new role and how this position will help you get there.
"I am interested in working for you because there is so much room for growth. There is so much opportunity at your company, and I think I will learn so much."
In the medical field, you may find yourself shuffling quickly from patient to patient, interacting with a variety of personalities on your team. Some people are easier to work with than others. Give a REAL example. Breakdown what happened and how you handled it professionally. Focus on the solution, not the conflict. If you wish you would have done something different, share it. Showing you can learn from past conflicts shows maturity.
"One of my co-workers wasn't carrying their weight, which meant everyone else had more work to do. I chatted with her one day at lunch, and she shared some personal issues that had been interfering and we agreed she needed some help with her projects. We all met with our boss and we determined a temporary solution to help her while she resolved her issues outside of work."
When assessing a patient, it's important to be able to communicate clearly. Tell the interviewer that you are you a good listener, you ask questions, and your able to gather all of the information you need. You ask follow up questions as well. Share how you have demonstrated effective listening skills in the past.
"When talking with patients, I make sure you listen carefully. Some people have accents or speak softly, and I have to pay close attention in order to understand them at times."
Think about your daily routine. Tell the interviewer about tasks that require the most skill. Think about your relationship with patients and qualities help you in those interactions. Tell the interviewer how you are observant, patient and positive. Being observant helps you to notice the details, in medical records and symptoms of patients. Being able to stay relaxed and calm also makes a difference in your interactions. And finally, having a good attitude helps everyone! Your coworkers and patients will always enjoy being around someone who stays positive in the midst of challenges.
"Being able to work well with others. Patience. Positive attitude."
Give an example that demonstrates your strengths. Show that you are confident and teachable. Share you best interactions with patients. If you don't have a solid answer, it'll come off to the interviewer that you aren't passionate about this career. If you have no experience yet, say something like: 'I volunteered at a nursing home during my senior year of High School and just helping people is what motivates me. I think that will be my best experience working at your practice.'
"I checked vitals and assessed an elderly patient. When the nurse came in she had me continue to perform the rest of the exam under her supervision and with her assistance. Everything went extremely well. I learned so much and the patient was happy as well."
Tell the interviewer that you able to relate to your coworkers, and converse easily with patients. Explain to the interviewer that you are an excellent communicator. The best way to demonstrate this is by giving an example.
"When talking with patients, I'm always sensitive and understanding. Most of my patients are dealing with some sort of illness, and they are already uncomfortable. I try my best to make them feel at ease."
Taking a patient's blood pressure is one of the basic tasks you will anticipate on the job. When you perform your assessment before the nurse or doctor meets with the patient, you will go through a routine set of questions and procedures. Be sure to familiarize yourself with checking a patient's temperature, blood pressure and weight. The more you practice, the easier it gets!
"Not from a patient, but during my schooling, we routinely performed blood pressure tests on each other."
Depending on the situation, you will want to respond quickly and make yourself available to assist the doctor in any way you can. Be aware of the surroundings and also observe the patient. Your best response will be one where you are sensitive to the situation by listening closely to the doctor and nurses involved. There may not be anything you can do to help, but if you get in the way, you could definitely create more problems. Ask what you can do and pay attention. If you need to step aside, be respectful and understanding.
"If an emergency were to arise, I would wait patiently for the doctors orders and assist her or him in whatever she or he needs."
You have a couple options with this question. You can think of some weaknesses or skills you need to brush up on. You could also think about some skills you would like to acquire in this new role. Maybe learning how to handle the administrative side will help you learn a new software. If you decide to talk about one of your weaknesses, be sure to focus on how you are taking action to improve it. If you are a people-pleaser, explain how you are learning to say 'maybe' before committing to doing something.
"I check my schedule first and take the time to think before always saying yes. That way I don't over commit myself."
When you are required to complete routine tasks and procedures, you will need to be able to organize yourself. Tell the interviewer what tools you use, your calendar to keep yourself on track, your detailed to-do list. Share your favorite tools and tricks for staying organized.
"I organize most of my scheduling between my smartphone and laptop. It's really convenient for scheduling."
Tell the interviewer what confidentiality means to you. In your training, you learned that there are many ways you could accidentally breach the confidentiality of your patients, including talking with other coworkers about experiences with patients or sharing stories about patients to others outside of work. Express how you take great care when handling patient records. Explain your awareness of confidentiality laws.
"I have a deep respect for a patient's privacy and would never think about violating that. It's a special bond that needs to be preserved in the medical field. I just think if that were me, or my family, with a medical issue, I would want absolute privacy and respect from the medical team."
Give an example that demonstrates your care for patients. Even though you work in a role that assists the rest of the staff in many capacities, there is always an opportunity to exceed expectations.When it comes to patient care, making the extra effort to help individuals feel more comfortable can make a huge difference.
"I had a patient who was anxious because of a recent diagnosis. After checking vitals, I took the time to talk with her. I noticed she liked a certain band because it was on her shirt, so we started talking about music. She began to feel more relaxed and smile."
Tell the interviewer if you have big plans to become a physician's assistant or if you'd like to return to school. The interviewer is interested in how this position will fit into your future plans. Give tangible details that show you have thought through and worked out a plan for your future. This shows the interviewer you are motivated and ambitious, two qualities that will also make you great at your job!
"I plan to work as a medical assistant for a couple years to get exposure to the medical field. I plan to continue my education by becoming a nurse. Working at your hospital will give me the experience I need to move forward with my goals."
Typically people don't go to the doctor because they're feeling great. They usually go to investigate something possibly going wrong or some sort of confirmed illness. When a patient complains, you know that it's not always your fault. It could be something they are dealing with and they are simply expressing frustration. In this situation, you want to be consistent. Show your understanding and concern. When you see them again, respond the same way, being considerate and personable. Remember that it's not you, it's them! So don't take anything personally.
"I would apologize again to them if there is a wait, but otherwise I would treat them no differently. If a long wait were to come I would try solving the problem between scheduling and communicating with the doctors. I would be cautious to give any patients preferential treatment because they had one experience where they waited for an extended amount of time."
Think about positive traits others use to describe you. Focus on the characteristics that are most valued in the workplace. Follow up by giving an example that shows why your coworkers think you have these traits or an experience that shows off these characteristics. Prepare at least one example. It's always helpful to be thinking about how others might perceive you, or how your actions affect others. It may be helpful to know when answering other interview questions, like talking about your strengths.
"My coworkers say I'm easy to work with because I try to have a good attitude, even when I have a heavy workload."
Proper planning will get you far, but sometimes life happens and you'll need a plan B. Think about some of the variables in your life that could affect your attendance at work. Sick children, traffic, car breakdowns... the list goes on. Most likely one of these issues has affected you before. How did you handle it? It may not be possible for everything to work out so smoothly, getting your shift covered or still making it to work on time. Your interviewer is looking to see that you are proactive and that you can handle the stress of unexpected situations that can arise.
"I stay calm and composed when issues arise. I got rear ended one time on the way to work. I called my boss immediately and then called one of my co-workers to see if they could fill in for me for the first couple hours of my shift."
Sometimes you go above and beyond, but it's still not enough to please a patient. Your role is just one aspect of the care a patient will receive when they go to the doctor or the hospital. That being said, you can still make a difference. Recognize that you have room to improve and that there is always an opportunity to grow from an experience. Even if you were not the one to cause the patient to have a bad experience, you can still learn from other people's mistakes. See everything as a learning opportunity! Express that to your interviewer!
"Is there anything I can do to make you feel more comfortable next time?"
As a medical assistant you will need to be able to shift gears quickly. You may have a daily routine and tasks you perform with every patient. When asked to perform a procedure you are unfamiliar with, how do you respond? Give an example that shows you are flexible and confident. The change could be a new skill that you learned on the job. It could also be learning how to work with a new boss or coworker.
"At my last office, we had a scheduling conflict where the doctor was putting on a wound vac for a patient. Unfortunately, this type of visit takes the doctor an hour to perform and we scheduled two visits during that hour. I apologized to the patients. We double checked scheduling from there on out before the day started to make sure we would not be overlapping patient visits as long."
A Medical Assistant helps prepare a patient for examination by a physician. They will perform basic vital functions, weight measurements, height measurements, room a patient, and assist the patient until a physician is ready for them. Medical Assistants are also responsible for office duties. They will receive office phone calls, work on the office schedule, organize and file documents, data entry, and more. Sometimes a medical assistant will be asked to travel between locations if the physicians they work under have multiple offices.
A successful Medical Assistant will be skilled in many areas of patient care and administrative duties. They will be able to handle stressful situations and strive under pressure. Having excellent judgment is also key, as many unknown scenarios may take place in a medical facility, the medical assistants must be able to make great decisions. Many medical assistants will have to work without supervision and must be able to thrive in that environment. They also must have a passion for healthcare and the well-being of their patients. Being able to understand the office is a team environment and all moving pieces are working together will help a medical assistant thrive at their position.
A Medical Assistant interview will be a challenge and all candidates need to prepare thoroughly. As a candidate for this position, you may be interviewed by multiple people throughout the office. You must be comfortable speaking to Doctors. Being confident in yourself and in your past work is key. Demonstrate to the interviewer how you have excelled in multiple positions working without supervision and that you are able to take initiative when you notice a task needs to be completed. The interviewer will most likely ask you several scenario questions on how you have performed under stressful and tough patient situations. They will test your composure and your ability to stay positive no matter how dire the circumstances are. Be sure to highlight your credentials and all the administrative duties you have completed in the past.