What it Means to Be Professional in a Healthcare Job - SALTER College
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What it Means to Be Professional in a Healthcare Job

Relevant Campus(es): Chicopee, West Boylston

being professional at work

Acting professional is not hard, and you can reap benefits by following these tips

For anyone in career training, you have probably heard your teachers tell you that it is important to “act professional.” Have you ever wondered what this means? If you are like many people in training for a healthcare career, then these tips are for you. These tips are especially important for students who are studying to become medical assistants. In this role, acting with professionalism is an important way to show respect and gain credibility on the job.

Rule #1: Respect patients at all times.
Respecting patients is at the very top of the list, because your patients are the reason you have a job. If you encounter patients who are very demanding—or even downright rude—try your best to keep a smile on your face and complete your job responsibilities competently. Remember, some patients may be in pain, scared for their health, or on medications that affect their mood. Keeping your cool and remaining polite will show others that you can handle difficult situations.

Rule #2: Follow HIPAA and patient privacy rules at all times.
As a professional healthcare worker, you are obligated to follow patient privacy rules. Be sure you understand your employer’s rules on privacy, and do your part to comply with HIPAA regulations. For example, your employer might require that you address patients by their first names only. Or there might be a special system for handling patient charts so that others can’t accidentally see them. And you must remember never to discuss patients with anyone besides those on the healthcare team.

Rule #3: No complaining.
Everyone has a bad day every now and then, but as a rule, it’s better not to complain on the job. If you are just starting out in a new job, odds are you will be given some entry-level tasks that aren’t very enjoyable, but try not to complain. Complaining will not get you a better job, and if anything, it could make things worse. Tell yourself you are going to keep a positive attitude. Look at each task as a stepping stone in your career journey. By keeping a positive attitude, you may eventually position yourself for higher-level responsibilities.

Rule #4: Remember your manners.
It sounds like obvious advice, but remember your manners! Simple gestures like holding a door for the person behind you, smiling at someone in the hallway, or greeting a patient with enthusiasm are gestures that go a long way. And don’t forget to smile! Your smile conveys that you are happy to be a part of the healthcare team.

Rule #5: Do more than what is expected.
Starting out in an entry-level position as a medical assistant can be hard. To get ahead, it is best to complete your tasks without complaint, and then, if possible, go above and beyond. Ask your supervisor whether you can take on additional tasks. Find out if there is some way you can further support the team. Showing that you are willing to do more than is expected of you is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to the job.

Rule #6: Keep learning every day.
When you are new to the job, there is so much to learn. Challenge yourself to learn something new every day. If you can turn this attitude into a lifelong habit, it will benefit you for your entire career. With the pace of change in the healthcare system, it’s important to keep growing, be adaptable, and be willing to step out of your comfort zone to learn new processes.

Rule #7: Keep a neat appearance.
In a healthcare job, your appearance matters. Patients expect you to look clean and neat. Wear clean scrubs that are not worn out or wrinkled. Keep your shoes in good condition. Your hair should be clean and neat. Keep your fingernails short and clean. Practice good hand hygiene and good dental hygiene. When it comes to makeup, jewelry, perfume, or tattoos, don’t overdo it. Keep it as subtle as you can.

Rule #8: Put your phone away.
When you are working in a healthcare job, you should put away your mobile devices. Your responsibility is to serve the patients and complete your assigned responsibilities. Be sure to remind your friends and family members that you will not be accessible during your working hours. Check with your supervisor to see whether it is okay to check your phone during breaks.

Rule #9: Stay away from gossip.
Gossiping is a mistake in any job. While it is great to have conversations with your co-workers when time allows, make sure you steer away from gossiping about others. Gossip can occur in conversations, as well as in social media and texts. If you are around people who are gossiping, try to change the subject, or simply say that you don’t want to put other people down.

With these rules in mind, you will be well on your way to acting professionally in your job. These rules not only help you to perform better on the job, but they help you feel better about yourself as a professional, and can contribute to your job satisfaction.


This article was provided by the Salter College. Salter College is committed to providing relevant career-focused training.  Contact us to learn more about our programs.


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