Keeping a professional demeanor at work is extremely important for many reasons. One being, that it can help you create great relationships in the workplace and solidify your reputation as a professional. Maintaining a professional image will help you maneuver your way amongst your peers, but it can also significantly increase the patient’s experience.
In a medical setting, patients will have a set of expectations in regard to their treatment by staff and how they represent themselves. Therefore, in order to boost your professional image, you should focus on three fundamental things, your appearance, your attitude, and your body language.
Although a well-known saying argues that ‘you should never judge a book by its cover’ the opposite is often true. It is said that it only takes 7 seconds for someone to form an impression about you and this can be based purely on your physical appearance. Your appearance is especially noted by patients, as they are expecting to be cared for by someone professional and knowledgeable.
If your appearance is overbearing this could encourage patients to detract their attention from your capabilities and make judgments solely based on physical appearance. Therefore, it is important that you look sharp and professional whilst at work. This means keeping your scrubs clean and pressed at all times. An easy way to save time and look your best is to have a variety of medical assistant scrubs at hand, which will avoid you having to rewash the same pair every day.
However, appearance can encompass many things other than uniform. For example, it can include nail polish, hairstyle, and even tattoos or piercings. Each medical centre is different and they will have their own rules on how to dress appropriately at work. However, we advise keeping things simple and natural.
Keeping a positive attitude will do wonders for you in the workplace. Nevertheless, it is understandable that staying positive at all times is no easy task. The medical industry is a rather stressful environment, which, at times, can be both physically and emotionally draining.
More often than not, positive thinking occurs at a subconscious level, however, it is also a conscious effort that we can practice. Try to keep a positive mental attitude at work and let go of all the exhausting and negative energy. If you do find yourself overwhelmed by the pressure of being a medical professional, it is best to address this on a more serious level.
If you come into work every day with a fresh and positive mind, you will notice a snowball effect taking place. Being kind, polite, and receptive will encourage others to do the same with you. This goes for the workplace and other areas of your personal life as well. Patients will feel happier and more at ease in a positive environment, whilst colleagues will be excited to come into work and be around you.
Body language is probably the least recognized indicator of professionalism. However, this is a very important form of non-verbal communication that can lead to people making assumptions about you. This is often forgotten about because body language tends to be a subconscious form of communication.
Body language includes things like facial expression, posture, gestures, touch, and personal space. Some of the top body language mistakes that often occur in the workplace are not respecting personal space, slouching, and fidgeting. The first way to overcome this hurdle is to be more self-aware. Take some time to notice your body language, how are you coming across to your peers and patients?
For example, a common mistake that people make is not respecting the personal space of others. This is a tricky one as this is very much dependent on the kind of relationship you have with the person. Make sure you are respectful of other’s boundaries and try to read their reaction.
Furthermore, not making eye contact or fidgeting whilst having a conversation could communicate that you are not focused. A patient or peer could easily feel disregarded with a lack of eye contact. Instead, try to really engage in the conversation at hand and communicate your interest by nodding your head.
Overall, there are many different ways you can try and boost your professional image. You could focus solely on changing your look, body language, or attitude. However, our recommendation is for you to take all three of these aspects into consideration and carry yourself with confidence.