Certified medical assistants, commonly referred to as CMAs, are professionals who work in a variety of health care settings, most often doctors’ offices. They handle a multitude of important tasks related to patient care every day.
While medical assistants complete a wide variety of duties throughout the day, a CMA’s job responsibilities depend greatly on the size and type of medical practice where she works. For instance, CMAs that work in large specialty practices may be tasked with performing only specific tasks related directly to patient care. On the other hand, those working in smaller family practices may perform a multitude of duties, ranging from answering the phone to drawing blood to filing insurance claims.
A certified medical assistant likely spends much of her day performing tasks directly related to patient care during office visits. CMAs greet patients, attempt to make them feel welcome and at ease, and accompany them from the waiting room to the exam room. During this period they may perform weight checks, take blood pressure and check temperatures.
Often, CMAs are the first people at a doctor’s office to speak directly with patients about their appointments. This means they often have the task of answering questions and calming anxious patients. Once in the exam room, they may explain what will happen at the visit that day as well as try to answer any questions the patient has. If they don’t know an answer to a question, they will recommend that the patient wait to ask a doctor or nurse. This is when a calm, patient demeanor is an asset to a CMA.
After answering questions and taking vital signs, CMAs ready patients for exams. For instance, they may provide dressing gowns and explain how to appropriately wear them. They also make sure the exam room is clean and comfortable for the patient and the necessary tools are sterilized and ready for the doctor.
While the majority of a medical assistant’s day is spent directly communicating with patients, there are also many administrative tasks they may be responsible for completing. In addition to performing tasks such as answering the phone and scheduling appointments, they may also make arrangements for patients to be admitted to the hospital or see a specialist. If a patient requires additional lab work, CMAs schedule it.
A medical assistant’s job does not end after the doctor examines the patient. Many times they are responsible for calling in prescriptions to pharmacies as well as explaining to patients how to take their medications. They also ready the exam room for the next patient by cleaning the exam room, refreshing any necessary medical supplies and appropriately disposing of any supplies that were contaminated during the exam.
Obviously, a medical assistant’s day is busy. This is the perfect career for a hard-working individual that likes to help people, enjoys staying busy and thrives when tasked with multiple duties. CMAs play a key role in the doctor-patient relationship and they have a large amount of responsibility.
This is a rewarding career in a growing field. Since they perform such an important, wide array of tasks on a daily basis, certified medical assistants are in high demand. This demand is only expected to increase in the coming years.