What Most People Don’t Know About Medical Assisting
Many people think that medical assistants just manage the front office, but that’s only a fraction of what medical assistants do.
Medical Assistants are trained in both administrative and clinical procedures of a health care facility. Due to their training in pharmacology, laboratory procedures, medical law, patient care, and the health sciences, Medical Assistants are capable of filling a diverse range of roles in a health care facility.
Obviously, the duties of a medical assistant will vary at each health care facility, but here are some of the common clinical and administrative duties practiced by Medical Assistants:
Medical Assistant Clinical Duties
Every state had different rules on what a Medical Assistant can do. The following list will give you a snapshot of some procedures you could perform as a medical assistant:
- Take medical histories
- Prepare patients for examination
- Assist the Doctor during examination
- Explain medical procedures
- Administer medications
- Draw blood
- Remove stitches
- Perform basic lab tests
- Authorize drug refills (as directed by doctor)
- Take EKGs
- Record vital signs
This is an extensive list, but it shows the wide variety of training you may receive in the Medical Assistant Program you join. Your training will depend, of course, on state regulations and the quality of the Medical Assistant School.
As you can imagine, the role of a medical assistant often means you’ll be working alongside doctors and other medical professionals daily. This career field means you should be flexible and can easily move between different tasks. One moment you could be helping a doctor with basic lab tests, and the next moment you could be explaining a medical procedure to a patient.
This wide range of clinical duties shows the extensive training you’ll need to join this thriving career field. It might seem overwhelming at first, but realize that each task may or may not be assigned to you. It depends on the medical office and state laws that determine how many of these procedures you can do.
Along with clinical duties, Medical Assistants also often take care of the medical office administration too.
Medical Assistant Administrative Duties
Medical Assistants need to be flexible, so they must often shift from a medical procedure to an administrative role quickly. As administrators within a medical office, they must be trained for the following duties:
- Updating patient’s records
- Working with insurance companies
- Scheduling appointments
- Ordering lab services
- Medical Billing
- Hospital Admissions
These administrative duties will often require some knowledge of computer programs. Bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, and corresponding with insurance companies will sometimes require a basic knowledge of computer programs. The knowledge you’ll need to perform these computer tasks can be learned either through a Medical Assistant School or learned on the job.
Since every doctor’s office is different, specific knowledge on computer programs will probably get taught within that medical office. And it’s very possible that you may join a medical office where many of these duties are handled without the help of a computer.
Not all medical assistants will work in administrative roles, so don’t worry if you feel uncomfortable working with computers. You can be a medical assistant that focuses only in clinical duties. You’ll just have more opportunity for advancement if you decide to take on more administrative responsibilities. You’ll also become higher valued to your employer.
Medical Assistant Jobs
Medical Assistants can work in a variety of health care settings. In fact, many Medical Assistant Schools already have relationships with local employers eager to hire their graduates.
Upon graduation, medical assistants can choose to work in:
- Medical offices
- Urgent care centers
- Nursing homes
- Medical supply businesses
- Home health agencies
- Insurance providers
- Pharmaceutical companies
And that’s just a small list of possible employers. Once you choose a Medical Assistant School, your career placement office will provide you with a network of different employers for you to submit resumes to.
Due to a medical assistant’s extensive training and education, they are practically suited to work within any type of health care facility. And it’s during your job hunt that you can specify a career focused more on the administrative or clinical duties.