Monday, 23 January 2012

Medical Assistants

As we know health sciences industry has become a promising industry that provide huge number of job opportunities for individuals who have natural desire to help others. Qualified professionals are required to work on various clinical and non clinical jobs. Due to this rising demand of well trained health science professionals, it can be a good decision to join this lucrative field as a medical assistant. These professionals are capable to manage various administrative, clerical and clinical duties in healthcare facility. In order to make more clear understanding about medical assistants, you will have to make clear understanding about duties of these professionals as well as the tasks they are not allowed to do.
Definition of Medical Assistant
Medical Assistants are not licensed professionals usually work in large or small medical units, physician offices and health clinics where they perform routine task of medical offices, physician clinics and health clinics. They are trained enough to tackle clinical and administrative issues as well as specific task in therapeutic departments. They usually don’t work in nursing care units and hospitals. This is a rewarding healthcare career and huge number of men and women are attracted to join this health sciences field. A qualified professional can work under supervision of physician, registered nurses, occupational and physical therapist, respiratory therapist and lot of other allied healthcare professionals. Medical Assistants are specific healthcare professionals who are entirely different from nurses (Licensed Practical nurses certified Nurse’s Aides and certified Nephrology Nurses) and other non-licensed professionals like Emergency Medical Assistants, Physician Assistants, and Medicine Aides. Even few of them show similarity in abbreviations with medical assistants. A doctor, nurse or physicians have to be present physically when these professionals are involved in providing any direct patient care services to patients.

Categories of Medical Assistants
There are 4 major categories of medical assistants. Every professional in a category possess unique set of skills and different training to carryout different duties in medical care units. Irrespective to training and skills that all professionals possess, they are allowed to work under direct supervision of authorized medical and health science professionals in outpatient care units, medical offices, surgical and ambulatory facilities, correctional and rehab units, colleges and universities. Following are 4 major types of these professionals.
  • Administrative medical assistants
  • Clinical medical assistants
  • Ophthalmic medical assistants
  • Podiatric medical assistants

Administrative Medical Assistants
Administrative Medical Assistants are responsible to update and maintain medical records of patients. They perform primary administrative tasks like filling out insurance forms for hospital admissions and relevant laboratory services.

Clinical Medical Assistants
Clinical Medical Assistants can perform various duties according to specific state laws. Common duties include writing patient’s medical history, observing vital signs and preparing patient’s for medical examinations, helping physicians during patient examination and explaining treatment procedures to patients.

Ophthalmic Medical Assistants
Ophthalmic Medical Assistants are specialized medical assistant who are capable to provide additional services and duties to assist ophthalmologists. They are trained to provide eye care services under supervision of eye specialists.

Podiatric Medical Assistants
Podiatric Medical Assistants are qualified to explain therapeutic exercises to patients under supervision of podiatrist. They also guide patients to wrap and bandage feet, keep examination room clean and arrange all instruments and equipments ready to use. Furthermore, they also look after purchase and maintain equipment’s supplies.

Job Description of Medical Assistant 
A qualified worker can perform range of different duties according to his/her knowledge and skills. Whatever the responsibilities that any medical assistant has to fulfill, their routine is very busy and they have to complete multiple tasks. Common tasks and duties that a professional has to execute include registration of new patients, maintaining new/old patient’s records, issue appointments, validate health insurance coverage for every patient, maintaining and organizing examination rooms, collect and process payments, update medical records, help doctors and physician during patient’s examination,  obtain and arrange lab reports and answering patient’s calls. You don’t need a license to work as a medical assistant. A well trained professional is able to fulfill important duties that are equally important and rewarding like clinical services offered by direct patient care services. Medical professionals assign different duties to these assistants employed under them. Their major role is to provide support to doctors to better understand and diagnose patients. They also treat patients in a very polite way and provide guidance to follow doctor’s advice.

Overview of Medical Assistant Duties
To further make you clearly understand about role of Medical Assistants in any healthcare facility, following is a quick overview of their duties.
  • Recording patient’s vital signs
  • Collection and preparation of specimens for laboratory tests
  • Sterilization medical equipments
  • Disposal of contaminated supplies
  • Preparation and administration of medicines prescribed by doctors
  • Guide patients to use medicines and specific diets
  • Call and coordinate with authorized pharmacies to get medicines for patients
  • Keep equipments, examination room and waiting area organize and sterilized
  • Also maintain medicines stocks and other supplies

Medical assistants also guide patients about how to use crutches or walker in a safe way. Their major aim is to provide adequate care to every patient who visit and leave doctor’s office or medical care units. They also assist patients in sudden medical emergencies and inform doctors about critical events.

Becoming a medical assistant does not require any formal health sciences degree. Interested candidates usually take on job training and relevant education to become a professional. You can pursue one year certification or two years associate of health sciences degree from any community or vocational college. Medical Assistant belongs to entry level job options available among healthcare careers.


  1. Thank you very much for your comprehensive details regarding this field. It is also important to choose a suitable medical assistant school in order to ensure a better future.

    1. Some practices require medical assistants to help physicians with pre and post
      treatment procedures like recording vital stats (height, weight, blood pressure,
      temperature), medical histories, drug allergies and routine lab tests. They may
      also be expected to provide first aid, remove sutures, change bandages, give
      injections and take X-rays or other scans.

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  2. Being an entry-level medical assistant and not boasting any formal previous education will often times result in a lower average starting salary. Click here

  3. What is a Medical Assistant?

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