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An Overview of the Job Description and the Training Program of a Medical Assistant

A medical assistant is someone who keeps a doctor's office, medical center or clinic running smoothly. Their job depends on where they work and the size of their practice. Generally work is a combination of jobs as managers, nurses and clerks all in one. The job involves the fundamentals of nursing and medicine, hospital management as well as academic or accounting tasks. Therefore responsibility will be a combination of clinical and administrative tasks.

Administrative duties include welcoming patients, scheduling patients' appointments on a doctor's schedule, maintaining medical records, handling internal and external calls and transferring them to different departments. Additional tasks include assisting with billing and collection of payments, updating notice boards on instructions of the insurer. Handles patient insurance information and also helps clear out small print as they help new patients fill out forms. Data entry is also under their responsibility.

Clinical tasks include taking vital signs, advising patients on treatment, doing laboratory tests and preparing laboratory specimens, obtaining patient history and assisting physicians as they carry out medical tests. Additional counseling involves nutrition, exercise and safe medication use. They submit prescriptions and under the supervision of the doctor also ensure refill. They remove stitches, perform rinsing and get patients ready for tests like x-rays, ECGs, and more. They also make sure that the examination room is clean between the exam and the material used to be refilled at the right time.

Most of these assistants will perform a combination of the tasks above and the ease with which they work will determine the tasks they perform most frequently.

This is an area that is expanding in terms of job opportunities with no future growth cuts due to aging population and new technologies that are improving their lives. The huge demand for these medical helpers is also due to the increasing number of outpatient facilities now available in the United States.

Programs at vocational schools, community colleges and juniors offer training for students seeking career pursuits as medical assistants. The one-year program gives you a certificate while the two-year program offers an associate degree. The curriculum covers a wide range of courses including medical terms, physiology, anatomy, typing, transcription, accounting, record keeping, insurance processing, laboratory methods, medicine and medicine, basic help and administration of medicine. The program usually ends with training at a recognized hospital or clinic.

The size of the facilities they work for is their salary determiner. However, market surveys show that the average salary for an entry-level medical assistant is around $ 22,000 and with one to three years salary experience will increase to about $ 27,000.

For those who want to climb the ladder with additional training, they can be a medical technician or nurse.


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