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What does a medical assistant do?
With growth in the healthcare sector comes demand for qualified staff to care for all of the patients. That includes medical assistants, but what does a medical assistant do? This page explains what medical assistants do so that you can determine if it’s the profession for you. In general, medical assistants are caregivers, administrators and experienced professionals who have a lot of knowledge about many areas of the industry. A medical assistant often works with patients when they first arrive at a doctor’s office or clinic. They also work in hospitals and virtually any healthcare establishment. Since they are so multi-faceted and adept at multi-tasking, they can be found everywhere in the healthcare industry.
The role of the medical assistant
Medical assistants are schooled to handle both clinical and administrative tasks.
- They can take vital signs from patients and also manage patient records, scheduling and billing.
- They know the insurance codes and can describe how to take medications.
Their diverse array of skills set them apart in the healthcare industry. Where most healthcare careers seek a specialty area at the outset of a career, medical assistant training emphasizes a broader, all-encompassing approach. However, medical assistants can specialize later on, if desired.
There are special professional certifications you can work towards that will provide you with the skills and knowledge to work exclusively in one area of medicine. For instance, you may choose OB/GYN or pediatrics. Other medical assistants prefer oncology. Once you get your feet wet in the industry, you may find that you wish to devote yourself to a specific patient population and practice that you’re interested in. Specializing offers the opportunity to grow your skills, may advance your salary and allow you to work in an area that interests you.
Where do medical assistants work?
Medical assistants work in all areas of the healthcare industry. They are found in hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices, as well as long-term health facilities and nursing homes.
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Keep in mind that if you find that you aren’t as strong in some of these areas as others, you can often develop these qualities. Less patient people, for instance, are often able to develop their empathy for others and learn to work with situations that aren’t immediately gratifying.
If you desire to enter the healthcare field with a career that can take you in any number of rewarding directions, then a medical assisting program may be perfect for you.