Top Menu

What is a Medical Assistant?

What is a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants typically work with physicians at outpatient or emergency care facilities. Medical assistants are required at hospitals, medical offices and doctor’s clinics. Statistics show that medical assisting is one of the fastest growing careers in the United States, with a huge surge in the number of doctor’s offices and outpatient care facilities being built around the country. The improvement of medical technologies and the “Baby Boomer” generation getting older are two major factors in the growth of these jobs.

Clerical Duties of a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants are required to perform a combination of administrative and clinical duties where they work. A typical medical assistant must be familiar with using computer applications, answering thee phone, greeting patients and taking down their information, updating patient files, scheduling future appointments and handling basic bookkeeping.

dental assisting image 1Clinical Duties of a Medical Assistant

A medical assistant is tasked with writing down a patient’s medical history, explaining treatment procedures, and preparing patients for exams. They will assist physicians during these exams, collect lab samples, perform basic lab tests, and instruct patients about specific diets in relation to an upcoming procedure.

As a medical assistant, it is important for you to be familiar with drawing blood, taking electrocardiograms, and removing sutures or changing dressings. For this reason, it is vital that a medical assistant takes their training programs seriously.

Assistants who have gotten the necessary certifications, completed all their classes, and excelled at school will have a long and successful career in the medical profession. In contrast, a medical assistant who stumbles through school and barely passes their certification exams is likely to do a very poor job at a medical office.

Training and Qualifications

Becoming a medical assistant is not a long procedure, but certain training programs must be completed in a thorough manner. All applicants must have a high school diploma before they start the process (a GED is also acceptable). A certified medical assistant will have completed a formal medical assisting program at four year college, two year college, community college, or at a vocational training school.

By passing the state and national medical assistant examinations, an applicant shows prospective employers that they are serious about this job. By scoring high on the examinations, an applicant demonstrates the technical qualities required for this job.

In addition to passing exams and studying hard in school, a medical assistant must also be kind, courteous, responsible, respectful, and pleasant while dealing with patients.

This is a unique job that combines the skills of a medical professional with the traits of an office assistant.