What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

The field of medicine provides its professionals with a complex and challenging agenda to fulfill each day, often requiring the collaborative expertise of many different employees. In a certain sense, medical assistants work to make sure various medical offices (dental, orthopedic, general medicine) are in smooth order so that doctors may do their jobs as efficiently as possible. This expedites the process of a doctor’s visit, and many medical offices rely on medical assistants to safeguard and optimize their operational capacities.

Medical assistant jobs vary widely, but aren’t to be confused with physician assistants. The typical medical assistant job description includes handling administrative as well as clinical duties, updating records, maintaining insurance correspondence, scheduling appointments, greeting patients, and maintaining a calm waiting area. From the time a patient checks in to the moment they leave, medical assistants are there to answer any questions regarding billing or a next visit that the doctor may have passed over.

Duties of Medical Assistants by Category

Clinical medical assistants can take on varying roles depending on the state in which they work, in accordance to its laws. Often they can record vital signs, prep patients for examinations by doctors, describe treatment procedures, and even assist doctors during said exams if necessary. Sometimes clinical medical assistants perform basic laboratory tests, sterilize medical instruments, and at the instruction of doctors may give patients directions on things as various as special diets and new medications. These professionals can also correspond with external agencies like pharmacies in order to phone in patient prescription requests, fill an existing order or request patient drug histories. Additionally, medical assistant careers sometimes involve preparing patients, physically and mentally, for specialized tests like x-rays and other bodily scans.

Medical assistants who have specialized backgrounds can often perform more complex tasks in a doctor’s office. For instance, ophthalmic medical assistants can give eye exams and conduct routine diagnostic tests. These professionals are often trained to test eye muscle function and, under the care of a physician, even administer eye medications that the patient could not otherwise do him or herself. There are many different areas of specialization available to these professionals, and a medical assistant resume tends to be quite diversified.

What Should Medical Assistants Expect From Work?

Medical assistants can expect to work in environments with routine 40-hour workdays. For administratively focused professionals, each day is typically spent working with computer software to maintain records, as well as with phones to contact insurance companies and various patients to remind them of appointments. Whether part-time or full-time, medical assistants deal with the public and should therefore have excellent communication and personal skills. They must understand people well and be able to help keep patients calm, as well as explain directions clearly, effectively, and understandably. For clinical work involving diagnostic testing, medical assistants must be especially keen to keeping an eye for accuracy and a passionate bedside manner with patients.

No matter what the specialty, medical assistants will continue to be an integral piece of the medical workplace.