A medical assistant undergoes extensive training to work in the health care field and perform various clinical and administrative chores in order to help medical practitioner and various other health care professionals. In order to become a good medical assistant, you should be a good listener, patient and an understanding individual, one who can easily work with patients from different backgrounds, and be encouraging amongst others.
The medical assistant duties typically include both clinical chores and administrative chores. The clinical chores include taking patient’s vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure, respiration temperature, medical history and respiration, preparing and administering medications, collecting and preparing various laboratory specimens, taking patient’s blood for further testing, sterilizing and wrapping medical instruments, preparing patients for diagnostic tests and taking electrocardiograms.
The administrative chores include scheduling appointments, answering the phones, bookeeping, calling in prescriptions to the pharmacy according to doctor‘s orders, filling out insurance forms, filing and updating medical files of patients, medical billing, arranging for admissions and laboratory services, and calling various insurance companies to ensure that patient’s insurance is still valid.
The training courses for medical assistant are offered in many vocational-technical high schools and in some colleges. The medical assistant training programs may take one to two years to complete depending upon the program’s schedule. Some medical assistants are also trained on the job. This mostly happens in hospitals where some certifying nursing assistants get training on the job and become medical assistants to the doctors.
A high school diploma or GED is necessary to apply for medical assistant training program. Some of the classes offered in this program are Surgical Asepsis and Pharmacology, Computer Medical Application Laboratory, Urinalysis, Laboratory, Electrocardiogram, Chemistry and Hematology Laboratory, Medical Terminology, Radiology and PT Laboratory, Anatomy and Physiology, Document Procurement Laboratory, Keyboarding, Word Processing Applications, Medical Office Administration and Interpersonal skills amongst others.
After the completion of medical assistant training, the assistant should get certified. This certification proves the assistant has met certain standards of competence. Although this certification is not mandatory, but most health care professional often look for medical assistants with certification to hire. Therefore, if you are interested in this career, you should get certified.
There are many organizations that offer this certification. Two of them are the AMT (American Medical Technologists) and AAMA (the American Association of Medical Assistants). The AAMA offers the certification to all those have graduated or are about to graduate from the accredited medical assistant training programs. Once you pass this examination, you will become CMA (Certified Medical Assistant).
The AMT offers registration of all medical assistants. Once you are certified by AMT, you can become RMA (Registered Medical Assistant). This certification is offered to all those who’ve been trained on job as assistants to medial professionals, and have worked in this field for five years, or those who are recent graduates.