Accepted Attire (Dress Code) In A Medical Office

Scrub tops (solid or various colors and patterns), scrub pants (no higher than 2″ above ankle), work shoes (closed toe medical clogs with socks, clean athletic shoes), lab coat and warm up jacket that is worn only at work are all acceptable on the clinical floors. Administrative and receptionist staff in the front office may wear neat pants, slacks, a dress, or skirt that is at least 3/4 thigh length, nice shirt, blouse, sweater, or warm up jacket with a good pair of shoes are appropriate business attire.


Natural fingernails should be kept neat and clean and not exceed ¼ inch length. Artificial fingernails are typically prohibited for medical assistants who provide direct patient care, certain services within the immediate vicinity of patients, equipment, or supplies that may come in contact with patients, and those involved in food preparation or distribution.

artificial nails are unsanitary
Long artificial nails are unsanitary

Discussing Ethnic Background

One question that often arises is whether a medical assistant should discuss his or her ethnic background, customs and heritage with a patient, or brush them off and pretend you did not hear it when a patient asks: “Where are you from,” or “what is that accent?”

Don’t think that others won’t be interested in your cultural background. While wearing your name tag visibly provides people with your first and last name and your credentials, it does not tell them who you are. Naturally, in a medical office were you deal with people from all walks of life in close proximity and contact, and close relationships are formed, a patient might be curious and ask you where you are from.


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Tattoos in the Medical Office

I have noticed that more and more women, not only among the younger generations, but of ALL ages, are getting #tattoos. I am not speaking of a small heart discretely hidden on the shoulder blade, ankle, or decollete, I am talking about flaming thunder bolts and rambling roses up and around the entire forearm in red, yellow and blues and entire patterns across the chest and up the neck.

The woman in the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-through window, the hair dresser who cut my grandson’s hair for his 1st day in school and the cashier at the Stop-and-Shop supermarket–they all had a visible tattoo on their wrist and forearm, nevertheless I am yet to see a medical assistant in the facility where I receive my care with similar tattoos, although I recall one who had a “suspicious” band-aid on her wrist.

All in all, we were taught in medical assistant school to cover them up and take the nose rings out. Mind you, even bright finger nail polish, or worse, fake fingernails were, and still are not encouraged, for good reason. That’s how is was back in the day and that wasn’t too long ago.

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Proper Etiquette and Name Disclosure

All health care professionals and medical staff and personnel are expected to adhere to proper etiquette which includes properly greeting patients and providing their full #name each time. If not, how else would a patient feel welcome and safe and could keep track for reference of who said what, or did what, on a given date, etc.?

QUESTION: “Are medical assistants supposed to offer their full name or only 1st name when a patient asks? All doctors give their full name, but do patients have the right to full name disclosure of the medical assistant also?”

introduction by name
medical assistant introduces herself by name

When you call a patient in from the waiting area the first thing you should do is introduce yourself by stating: “Hello, my name is Jen, I am your medical assistant”. You should also be wearing a name badge with your first and last name and showing your #credentials. If the patient asks for your last name, provide it with a pleasant tone of voice, then verify you have the right person before you continue the take-in procedure.

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