Appearance, Attire and Attitude

It is common sense, you will be treated as you appear and are dressed. People are judged by others by their attitude and clothes. It may not be fair and it may not be right, but in the real world our all too visible self is under constant scrutiny.


It is not what is but what is perceived, therefore, when working in a medical office you are much better off making your attitude and appearance work for you.  The key is looking appropriate, not just looking good. Successful people dress for success and a good medical assistant dresses as professional as the doctors and nurses around them. They, in turn, will appreciate it, knowing that you, in your role as an important part of the health care team are a walking, talking advertisement for the practice.


Punctuality is just as important. When you arrive at work late with a cup of coffee in your hand and a scowl on your face you have just made a statement about yourself. The statement you make influences how your boss, coworkers and the patients see you–you can bet it is not that of a dedicated employee, professional and care giver. On the flip-side, when you come to work a little early you have time to organize your desk and get exam rooms and materials ready for the day. It creates a positive climate and builds an impression of respect, credibility, responsibility and knowledge.


Medical assistants go to work each day dressed in business attire or institutional uniforms, depending on their role they fill, which could be administrative, clinical or managerial in nature. The typical dress are nice, clean scrub tops, matching pants with pockets and nursing type shoes, such as white sneakers, or soft-soled clogs with a closed toe and heel strap. Sandals, flip-flops, running shoes, sweats and t-shirts are for the beach, or mall. Make no mistakes, medical assisting is about caring, helping others and teaching to encourage better health and well being and this begins with your appearance and attire. When people like you they will respect you, learn from you and follow your instructions.


Along with appropriate attire comes positive self-concept and attitude. The medical assistant’s friendly smile and inviting act can make a positive difference even on a hectic day. Every day brings opportunities to reach out and make someone happy and create a friendly work atmosphere. Since the medical assistant at the front desk is usually the first person a patient sees an inviting smile and greeting can go a long way.

Words that go a long way:

  • “Good morning.”
  • “Please come in.”
  • “How can I help you?”
  • “Yes.”

Inviting personal behavior:

  • Smiling
  • Listening
  • Holding a door
  • Waiting to speak

Disinviting behavior and negative attitude will quickly create an uncomfortable atmosphere, just as your spoken words, or self-talk, it can either motivate or derail you. So, by all means, refrain from looking at your watch when a patient voices concerns, yawning, sneering, or letting a door swing behind you. All this sends little signals not only about you, but also prevents proper communication with others and hampers your own potential and growth.

medical assistant appropriate appearance and attire