8 Tips for Being Professional on the Job

Acting professionally can earn you respect and trust

If you are preparing for a medical career, you are probably busy learning a lot of clinical skills, such as drawing blood, taking a patient’s blood pressure, or how to dress a wound. Clinical skills are one of the most important parts of your job training, but in addition, you will need to learn “soft skills,” such as how to act like a professional on the job. These soft skills aren’t hard to learn, but they are very important on the job. They help cement your reputation as a trustworthy, dependable employee. Try these tips to help improve the way you behave on the job.

1. Learn good communication skills

Poor communication can cause a great deal of problems, especially in a healthcare setting. Healthcare professionals need to convey critical information about patients to one another. This communication might be verbal, or it might be in the form of entering patient data into medical records or a patient chart. Documenting accurately is essential for ensuring that patients get what they need. Good communication can help you deliver the correct services to your patients in a precise and efficient manner.

2. Respect your patients

One of the top rules of the job is to respect your patients! They are the reason you have a job, and they deserve your respect. Sometimes patients can be difficult. They might be demanding or even rude. But remember that they are in a vulnerable position. They may be sick, in pain, or worried about their health, and as a result, they may not be treating people as nicely as they should. Regardless, you should keep calm and treat them politely at all times. Respecting your patients also means observing the privacy rules that are spelled out in HIPAA. All healthcare practitioners must do their part to keep patient records private and confidential.

3. Look professional

Half of the battle to being treated as a professional is to look like a professional. If you are in a healthcare job where you wear scrubs to work, you don’t have a great deal of choice in your wardrobe. However, there are still ways you can present a professional appearance. Be sure your scrubs are clean and unwrinkled. Wear your hair in a neat and professional style. Keep your fingernails trimmed and clean at all times. Be sure your shoes are in good condition. Wear understated jewelry, if any at all. These small details can help you look more professional.

4. No gossip!

Gossiping about others is never appropriate on the job. You want to be a respected member of your healthcare team. You want to keep up strong relationships where you can trust one another. Gossiping is a very fast way to erode this sort of trust. Talking poorly about other co-workers or talking negatively about patients is very unprofessional. If you are around fellow co-workers who start to gossip about someone else, try to politely change the topic or move away from the conversation.

5. Say please and thank you

It sounds very simple, but just remembering to say “please” or “thank you” can be difficult on a busy day. But it’s important to make an effort to use the manners you learned as a child. Other hallmarks of good manners are holding the door for others, looking people in the eye when you speak with them, showing extra respect to the elderly, and offering a hand to someone who needs help.

6. Phone etiquette

Your employer may have rules about when you can use your cell phone on the job. Be sure to stick to these rules. You don’t want to be caught answering a text message or posting comments to social media during your work shift. If you don’t actually need your phone for your job, the best bet is to keep it turned off during your work hours.

7. Don’t let your team down

Caring for patients requires a whole team of healthcare professionals. Whatever your position—whether you are a medical assistant, nursing assistant, registered nurse, or other professional—it’s important to take your responsibilities seriously. If you slack off on the job, someone else will have to do your work. At the very least, you should complete all of your responsibilities. If you want to go the extra mile, you can also be proactive. Being proactive means looking for other ways that you can help your team serve the patients better.

8. Keep improving

Healthcare and medicine are constantly evolving fields. After your medical career training is over, it is important to stay on top of the changes and developments in your career field. You can take continuing education classes, subscribe to journals, or join a professional organization. Being open to change will help you stay flexible and ready for the new developments in your career field.

With these eight tips, you should be well on your way to professional behavior. Acting in a professional way will not only impress your supervisor and co-workers, but it will also make you feel better about your job and your career. Give it a try, and see if you agree!


This article is a courtesy of the American College for Medical Careers. Located in Orlando, Florida, our school offers training for sonographers, medical assistants,  and more. Contact us online for more information.