What is a Medical Assistant?

What is the role of the medical assistant in a clinic? Many people may not even know what a medical assistant is. Those people are most likely not interested in a career in healthcare. However, those who want a career in the medical industry, but is not interested in a specialized position such as doctor or nurse.

For those people, it is advisable to do some research on how medical offices work and how the medical assistant fits into their plan. The medical assistant has a role that is not always well-defined, which results in some variations in the job from one office to the next.

Most medical assistants perform administrative duties as part of their daily work experiences. They answer telephones, schedule and reschedule appointments, and greet patients. This is not necessarily the main part of their job, however.

Many medical assistants have a clinical component to their job. They can take vital signs, discuss treatments and medications with patients, in some instances they can administer medication, and in some situations even perform tasks such as drawing blood. A medical assistant who is capable and willing to perform these tasks takes a great deal of stress off of the other staff, improving office efficiency and improving morale as well.

How do I know being a medical assistant is for me?

If you think you might be interested in a career as a medical assistant, you should first and foremost have an interest in entering the healthcare field. The job involves working with patients on a regular basis, which sometimes involves witnessing uncomfortable situations involving illnesses, including exposure to viruses, bacteria, and bodily fluids. Patience and empathy are two important traits to possess if you’re considering entering this field.

In addition, there are other inherent skills you should possess in order to get into a career as a medical assistant. Analytical skills are required to allow the medical assistant to understand and follow medical charts and diagnoses given by the doctors. Performing some medical coding may be necessary.

Because of the nature of the work, and dealing with people’s health, a meticulous attention to detail is important if you want to become a medical assistant. Precise vital signs must be taken, and other patient information needs to be taken exactly. A lapse in attention to the details of the job can lead to many unfortunate, even harmful effects for the patient.

In working closely with patients on a daily basis, in addition to working with an office of several co-workers, interpersonal skills is another important trait. In addition to behaving in a professional manner to co-workers and patients alike, it’s important for a medical assistant to be able to stay calm during a stressful situation, since people who are sick (or have sick children, parents, spouses, and other loved ones) are often stressed themselves.

Technical skills, especially a general aptitude for electronic devices, is also helpful. In the normal performance of their job as a medical assistant, it is necessary to use basic clinical instruments. Familiarity with those would be advisable, and certainly having the ability to quickly learn to use other medical equipment is a positive trait to have.

What kind of medical assistant training do I need?

Sometimes medical assistants who do not receive postsecondary education acquire skills through on-the-job training. This requires the physicians or other office personnel to spend time working with the medical assistant and can take up a great deal of time. Workers who receive medical assistant training, either through a school or a similar training program, often require less training and are able to pick up office processes more quickly.

In addition, also important to a medical assistant is a desire to continue learning after the school and training process is over. Generally, this is through continuing education. Receiving certifications can boost a medical assistant’s career, make them more knowledgable, and position them for advancement. In some states, certification is required for a medical assistant to work in that position.

If you believe becoming a medical assistant is a good career choice for you, explore training programs, career colleges, and find a school that will help you learn the medical assistant skills you need to begin a career.

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