How to Become a Successful Medical Assistant - 3 Surefire Tips
What’s the difference between an ordinary Medical Assistant and an outstanding Medical Assistant?
It’s the little things an MA can do to keep the office operating smoothly.
You see, the more organized an MA is—the easier it is on the entire medical staff.
To help you stay organized, here are three tips to help you become a successful Medical Assistant:
ANTICIPATE WHAT WILL BE NEEDED
When you put a patient in an exam room, notice why he/she is there and make sure everything the provider will need for that visit is set up and ready to go when the doctor walks in the door. This sounds obvious, but a lot of time is wasted during patient visits when the room is not prepared.
One way to help you anticipate what will be needed is to constantly ask yourself questions. For example:
Does the patient have a cough?
Maybe your provider will need a peak flow.
Is the patient in for a wound check?
Your provider can’t examine the wound unless it is exposed. Have it unwrapped and ready for examination with materials conveniently placed for redressing the wound.
Do you think the patient will need lab tests?
Have the requisition on the chart, with identifying information completed so the provider just needs to add the desired tests and a signature.
Were tests ordered at the last visit? Are they in the chart?
If not call for the results. Don’t wait to be told. Always be thinking ahead.
The more questions you can ask yourself, the more prepared you’ll be.
USE A CHEAT SHEET
Do you work in an office with several providers, each with his/her own preferences? It can be frustrating to remember who wants what. So keep a note pad in your pocket to use as a quick reference for preferences and quirks of the providers with whom you work.
Note each provider’s choice for glove sizes, suture setup, wound care, or pelvic exam setup. Note if they want a UA completed before they go in the room for chief complaint of urinary symptoms. It makes a provider’s job much easier when a thoughtful Medical Assistant has everything he needs set up and ready to go.
DOCUMENT EVERYTHING CLEARLY
Illegible penmanship is out. Forget all the old jokes about doctors and sloppy writing. What you write must be accurate and easy to read. Keep your note on the chief complaint short and specific, limited to 3-5 words on what the problem is, times (x) how long. For example; “Ear ache, fever x 3 days.” “Refill blood pressure meds.” “Back pain x 48 hours.” “Follow up sinus infection, Antibiotics x 10 days, doesn’t feel better.” Your provider will fill in the details during the exam.
Correct spelling makes you look smart. Use your pocket note pad to jot down words that are a challenge to you. Remember throats are sore; and birds soar.
Names of medications are often difficult for anyone. One handy pocket sized book that is full of generic and brand names is the Tarascon Pocket Pharmacopia. Highlight the names of medicines you come across and before long you will be spelling them accurately with no problems. If you have a pocket Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), Epocrates has a free download of their complete list of generic and name brand medications.
Remember an outstanding MA can make the difference between a smooth running office and a chaotic office.
KEY POINTS TO REMEMBER
remember to anticipate your provider’s needs, keep a note pad to help you remember important facts, and make sure to document everything clearly so nobody has trouble understanding what you wrote on the charts.