A typical workday for many medical assistants is extremely fast-paced, and requires them to maintain a great deal of flexibility to ensure everything is accomplished. Medical assistants perform a variety of functions, all of which are equally essentially. Here is a look at what a typical medical assistant’ day is like.
Starting the Day
A medical assistant normally arrives at the office 30 to 60 minutes before the clinic opens to prepare for the day. Before patients arrive, he or she may:
- Double-check appointments for the day
- Listen to phone messages that were recorded during the night
- Pull the appropriate medical charts
- Download and print any specific paperwork that might be needed for a particular procedure
- Prepare exam rooms to receive patients
Once patients begin to arrive, the nature of a medical assistant’s work may change dramatically. He or she may go from performing front office duties to assisting the physician with exams. Other times, a medical assistant may continue performing administrative functions such as completing insurance paperwork or filing documents in medical charts until the clinic becomes busy. At that time, the medical assistant may transition from administrative work to becoming directly involved in patient care. Some of the things a medical assistant may do during normal business hours include:
- Escorting patients to the examining room
- Taking vital signs and recording them on a medical chart
- Asking the patient certain questions about his or her symptoms to help the doctor in making a diagnosis
- Assisting with the actual exam
- Drawing blood or collecting urine for testing
- Bandaging wounds
- Going over a doctor’s instructions with the patient
- Cleaning an exam room to get it ready for the next patient.
A medical assistant is also usually the first person to greet a patient upon arrival. The medical assistant is typically responsible for checking a patient in, making sure all contact and insurance information is correct, and collecting any necessary paperwork needed for that appointment.
In Between Patients
There may be times throughout the day when there are few patients waiting to be seen. Medical assistants use these slower periods to catch up on some important tasks such as:
- Sterilizing medical equipment
- Transcribing physician’s notes and recording them on a medical chart
- Making follow-up phone calls to patients concerning tests
- Gathering documentation needed for insurance appeals
- Ordering and restocking supplies and equipment
- Confirming appointments for the following day
- Calling in prescriptions to a pharmacy
End of the Workday
It’s not unusual for patients to remain inside a clinic long after their appointment times. This means that medical assistants must sometimes work extended hours in order to provide patient care. Once all the patients have gone for the evening, a medical assistant will then go to work tidying up and finishing tasks such as:
- Putting up medical charts
- Shutting down computer equipment
- Collecting used medical instruments for sterilization
- Balancing the cash drawer and making deposits
- Completing payroll records
- Obtaining the physician’s signature on insurance documents
Getting it all Done
To accomplish all these tasks, it’s important for medical assistants to remain flexible and learn to act as a member of a team. Good communication with other associates is also needed in order to know when help is required in a certain area. Medical assistants must also have good time management skills and should be able to multi-task whenever possible without compromising the quality of their work.
The expectations of a medical assistant are very high, as there is a great deal riding on their work. If performing a variety of tasks in a fast-paced environment is something you enjoy, a career as a medical assistant could be right for you. To find out more, contact us.