A career as a medical assistant is one that offers a variety of duties and opportunities in the medical field that are vital to the operation of any healthcare facility. Although they do not practice medicine or do extensive medical procedures under the supervision of a doctor as a physician’s assistant would, they are still a vital part of the medical team. Certification and registration are voluntary, but some employers do require that you do this in certain areas and facilities. The good thing is there are no lengthy or expensive licensing requirements. Below is a good overview of the medical assistant duties as they exist today.
There is a lot of paperwork and record keeping necessary in running any type of healthcare facility. A large percentage of this falls into the capable hands of a medical assistant. They routinely update patient records, complete intake paperwork, explain and prepare testing procedures for patients and a variety of medical office related tasks. They help complete a lot of the duties that would otherwise minimize the time that nurses and doctors have to devote to patient care.
There are many medical related duties that are the often the responsibility of the medical assistant. They frequently take and monitor patient vital signs, collect and prepare specimens of bodily fluids and tissues for laboratory examination, administer medications and in some facilities are allowed to give injections and x-rays with proper training. Everything is done under the constant supervision of doctors and nursing staff. The parameters of actual patient care duties will depend on where you work and staffing demands. The smaller the facility the more you will be asked to do.
The Perfect Balance
Medical assistants are often the first to greet patients and make them feel comfortable. They fill out insurance forms, answer telephones, schedule appointments, handle correspondence, billing and even help arrange hospitalizations and testing for patients. They are often available to help explain special diets to patients, sterilize equipment and help dispose of contaminated supplies. They are needed to get authorizations for drug refills, call in prescriptions to pharmacies, remove stitches and even change dressings on wounds. One of their most important duties is keeping the lines of communication open between the physician and nursing staff and the patient.
Increased Need for Medical Assistants
The changes brought about by healthcare reform make the medical assistant an even more vital member of the healthcare community. Many required duties can be performed by less costly means, which means better overall healthcare for everyone. The increased numbers of people with health insurance will put a strain on the field without the help of qualified medical assistants. The influx of individuals needing preventative testing and health maintenance procedures ensures that the medical assistant career future shines brightly.
The sheer variety involved in medical assistant duties makes this the best career path for anyone that enjoys staying busy and being an important part of the day-to-day operations of a business. Knowing that you are helping patients get and maintain good health is an added bonus.