Becoming a Medical Assistant

 Medical  Assistants (MA’s) in Peaches scrubs perform the routine clinical and administrative tasks in physician’s offices and other health care facilities. MA’s are not the same as physicians’ assistants, who usually have broader and strictly clinical responsibilities. The particular duties of MA’s vary according to the type, size, and location of the  medical  practice. In the smaller practices, MA’s are usually generalists who have both clinical and administrative responsibilities and they report to a physician or an office administrator. In the larger practices, MA’s often specialize and they report to a department administrator or supervisor.

An MA’s administrative duties may include answering telephones, greeting patients, filling out and filing patients’  medical  records, correspondence, filling insurance forms, scheduling appointments, handling bookkeeping and billing, and arranging hospital admissions. An MA’s clinical duties may include taking  medical  histories, preparing patients for their examinations, preparing examination room equipment and instruments, explaining treatment procedures to patients and instructing them about special diets and medications, recording vital signs and otherwise assisting the physician’s examination, drawing blood, taking and preparing specimens for the laboratory, doing basic laboratory tests, taking electrocardiograms, preparing the patients for x-rays, sterilizing  medical  instruments and disposing of contaminated articles, removing sutures and changing dressings, administering the medications directed by the physician and authorizing drug refills, telephoning prescriptions to pharmacies, and maintaining equipment and supplies. Typically,  medical  assistants in petite scrubs work 40 hour weeks, although some work part-time, others nights or weekends.

The skills needed to become a  medical  assistant include having a pleasant and courteous manner, so you put patients at their ease and can deal with the public effectively. Visual acuity and manual dexterity are required to be able to accurately and efficiently perform some clinical duties. The job also requires thoroughness and considerable attention to detail, to be able to efficiently handle patient records and other  medical  administrative tasks. Finally, good communication skills are required, to explain the physician’s instructions to patients.  Medical  assistant salaries can vary according to skill, geographic location, hours worked, and experience. In 2002 MA annual salaries averaged $24,000, with the top ten percent earning over $34,000. Although not all MA’s have more than high school diplomas, formal  medical  training is preferred by employers.  Medical  assisting training programs are offered in vocational and technical high schools, and also as one- or two-year post-secondary programs in community colleges which lead to a certificate or an associate’s degree. Although MA’s are not licensed some states require them to take a course or test before they are permitted to perform certain tasks. Although MA’s in Urbane scrubs don’t need to become certified, nonetheless employers give preference to certified  medical  assistants. In 2002 there were over a third of a million  medical  assistants in the U.S., about two-thirds of whom worked in physicians’ offices, with the rest working in hospitals or in outpatient care centers and nursing care facilities.