Have you ever wondered what it takes to be a Medical Assistant? A Medical assistant is an allied health professional who performs many administrative and/or clinical tasks to support the work of physicians. They may perform routine tasks and procedures such as taking patients’ vital signs, giving medications and injections and recording medical records.
What does a Medical Assistant do?
Medical assistants may also perform routine clinical and administrative duties under the direct supervision of a physician or a nurse. Many medical assistants perform also many administrative duties. These include answering telephones, greeting patients. Filling out insurance forms, scheduling appointments and bookkeeping.
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In some states, Medical Assistants are allowed perform basic lab tests, dispose of contaminated materials, and sterilize medical instruments used in surgery. In other states that can instruct patients about their medications and how to follow a special diets. In certain areas of the country, they prepare and administer medications, authorize drug refills, telephone prescriptions to any pharmacy, draw a patient’s blood, prepare patients for an X-rays, help in an electrocardiograms, remove a patients sutures, and change old dressings.
How Do Medical Assistant Train?
The International Standard Classification of Occupations says medical assistant training normally requires formal training courses in medical assisting. The formal education received by medical assistant mostly happens in vocational schools, technical institutes, or community colleges. Most medical assistant training programs lead to a certificate or a diploma, can take around one year to complete.
An associate’s degree, taken at a community college, takes around two years. Common study topics in medical assisting programs include medical terminology, and anatomy and physiology. Some programs may also include a clinical internship where the student interns as a medical assistant in a medical clinic.
In the United States, medical assistants have traditionally held jobs in ambulatory care centers, urgent care facilities, and clinics, but there is now a new trend. Medical assistants now find jobs in inpatient and outpatient facilities, and assisted living facilities. Medical assistant are starting to do the jobs of nurses at these facilities.
The U.S. Department of Labor reports the demand for medical assistants are excellent:
- It is predicted to be one of the nation’s fastest growing occupations through 2018.
- Employment is expected to grow by at least 31 percent from 2010 to 2020.
- This is much faster than the average for all occupations.
- The demand will stem from increased physician and hospital interest.