What is a Medical Assistant?

What is a Medical Assistant?

Medical assistants play an important role in medical facilities, and are an ideal career opportunity for those who want to enter the medical field but don’t want to take four or more years at a traditional college. They perform a number of duties in both hospitals and doctor’s offices.

In this article, we’re going to cover who medical assistants are within the medical community, what they do, where they work, and how this role differs from a CNA’s role.

Who Medical Assistants Are

Medical assistants work with doctors, nurses, and office staff to support patient care. They are trained in both administrative and medical skills so they have a foundation of knowledge for their career.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that employment of medical assistants will grow 29% from 2016 to 2026, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. The best medical assistants are compassionate, friendly, and multi-skilled so they can support the doctors and nurses in a variety of roles.

What Medical Assistants Do

Common roles for graduates of a medical assistant training program include Administrative Medical Assistant, Clinical Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy Technician, or EKG Technician. Most training programs are less than a year long, offering students a chance to start their new career much faster than traditional four-year schools.

Upon graduation, medical assistants are ready to help patients in these areas:

  • Front office administrative skills
  • Medical terminology, ethics and law
  • Word processing
  • Phlebotomy techniques
  • Injections
  • Vital signs
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitations
  • Urinalysis
  • Emergency first aide
  • Electrocardiograph
  • Interviewing & recording of patient history
  • The use and care of diagnostic equipment

Once this training is complete, medical assistants are eligible to become nationally certified Medical Assistants through the American Medical Certification Association (AMCA). This certification offers greater job potential, opening up many more opportunities as a medical assistant.

Where Medical Assistants Work

Medical assistants work in local medical facilities like hospitals and doctor’s offices. Because they are trained in a wide variety of skills, medical assistants have the opportunity to transition between different roles while caring for patients.

Completing training and working in medical facilities also positions medical assistants well for career advancement. Potential positions include clinical team leader, lead medical assistant, medical office manager, clinical office manager, medical records manager, healthcare administration, and more.

Becoming a medical assistant is a way to positively and directly impact patients while working with a skilled medical team. Because training is short-term, it’s a faster way to improve their career than a traditional four-year school. A medical assistant is a crucial part of a medical facility’s treatment team, and is a beneficial introduction to working in the medical field.

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