Medical Assistants offer great support to doctors and are an essential role in the medical field. Medical Assistants complete a variety of administrative and clinical tasks and can become employed in hospitals, physicians’ offices, and many other healthcare facilities. Let’s get into some of the typical daily tasks of a Medical Assistant.
Working As A Medical Assistant
Medical Assistants provide services to both other medical professionals and also patients. They pretty much do it all, from fundamental tasks such as taking patients’ vitals and administering medications, to collecting medical history and even scheduling appointments or processing paperwork. Here are a few more daily tasks/duties of a Medical Assistant:
- Assisting doctors in physical exams and minor surgeries.
- Conduct basic lab tests on specimens
- Drawing blood from patients
- Giving patients injections or preparing them for x-rays
- Sterilizing medical instruments and sanitizing examination rooms.
- Performing EKGs and phlebotomy procedures.
- A thorough understanding of medical terminology, anatomy and physiology, medical law and ethics, and HIPAA regulations will be utilized throughout the Medical Assistant’s typical day.
- Updating patient electronic health records (EHR).
- Answering the phone and taking messages for doctors
- Greeting patients
- Billing and coding
- Entering patient information into medical records
- Scheduling appointments and exams
As you can tell, Medical Assistants have a wide range of daily tasks and the job requires a diverse skill set. This skill set allows them to work in both the clinical side of the office as well as the administrative side.
Schedule & Set-Up
One of the core functions of most Medical Assistants will always be reviewing that day’s itinerary and preparing the rooms, equipment, charts, and more for the physicians. Based on the schedule, Medical Assistants are required to set up the equipment and the examination room for each patient. This includes paying close attention to rules and regulations about equipment, sterilization, and disinfection, ensuring that the exam table and equipment are clean and ready to be used on a new patient. Housekeeping like this is an important way to set the tone for new patients visiting your practice; this helps maximize the time that the patient is able to spend with the physician, as well as establishing a safe, predictable, clean environment for patients who may be visiting the office. Patients can often show signs of stress or discomfort just coming to a doctor’s office; by ensuring the practice is kept in order and the doctor has the tools and materials at their disposal to effectively care for a patient, Medical Assistants essentially keep the practice running as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Probably the one role that many commonly associate with a Medical Assistant is prepping the patient for the visit of the physician by performing typical tests and pertinent procedures. Medical assistants will help patients prepare for their appointment with the physician by taking vital signs and other measurements for doctors. Many Medical Assistants take blood pressure, temperature, height, weight, and more to note any irregularities that may prove to be integral insights for the physician. This initial screening goes straight onto the patient chart, allowing the Medical Assistant to be agile in moving from patient to patient while effectively preparing the physician to spend more time with their patient and get a comprehensive glimpse into their overall health.
In addition to having a firm understanding of what healthy vitals look like for different age groups and populations, Medical Assistants should be intimately familiar with medications, their side effects, and common health issues that may be affecting their patients. Doctors will often rely on Medical Assistants to collect information about any potential allergies the patient may have, current prescriptions, and basic information about medical history. This helps the doctor to get insight into their current state of health and saves time in diagnosis, but it also helps to set the expectations of the patient to better prepare them for the physician.
Key Qualities of a Medical Assistant
Since Medical Assistants could have a variety of tasks day-to-day, they need to be well-rounded when it comes to their skill set. Medical Assistants must be detail-oriented, able to communicate effectively with doctors and patients, and have solid analytical and technical skills.
A good understanding of medical charts, the ability to use basic clinical instruments, strong communication skills, and attention to detail are all essential skills of a Medical Assistant.
Where Can Medical Assistants Work?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, Medical Assistants often work in physician’s offices, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and more. Let’s go into depth about the types of environments Medical Assistants can work in.
Many Medical Assistants work at a physician’s office or clinic. Medical Assistants that work in physicians’ offices may have the responsibility of both clinical and administrative tasks.
Many Medical Assistants also choose to work in a hospital setting. Hospitals will typically be opened 24/7 and Medical Assistants could work at any time of the day. Working in a hospital setting is typically more high pressure because of the emergency services they provide.
Elderly people typically need more assistance, therefore Medical Assistants are able to put all of their skills to use in a nursing home. Medical Assistants will help residents with their daily tasks such as hygiene, helping them into their wheelchairs, and providing first aid for them. Nursing homes actually hire a lot of Medical Assistants rather than physicians since most of the residents aren’t sick and have their own primary doctors.
Medical Assistants in chiropractic offices will typically perform more administrative tasks since this type of practice does not require many clinical procedures. Medical Assistants who are organized and enjoy interacting with people would find working in a chiropractor’s office very pleasant.
Medical Assistants can work in outpatient facilities which are different from both hospitals and clinics. These are medical offices and can provide psychiatric outpatient care. Typically outpatient facilities don’t require an overnight stay and Medical Assistants usually perform both administrative and clinical tasks. Outpatient facilities are less stressful than hospitals and tend to be open 7 days a week.
If you are a Medical Assistant interested in working at a women’s health office, an OB-GYN office would be best for you. The Medical Assistant will have to perform many clinical tasks like taking patients’ vitals and keeping accurate records. MA’s will also have some administrative tasks such as scheduling appointments and answering patient questions. The hours here will be more regular than working in a hospital.
Learn More About Our Medical Assistant Certification Program
At ACI Medical & Dental School, our faculty and administration are committed to your success, and our affiliation agreements with major New Jersey hospitals, doctor offices, and clinics provide students with internship and future employment opportunities. If you are interested in enrolling in ACI Medical & Dental School’s Medical Assistant Certification program, contact us today and take the first step towards an exciting, in-demand new career!