Training as a Medical Assistant
Becoming a medical assistant can be exciting for those interested in joining the medical career. Most medical assistant schools offer training which lasts between one and two years. There are other medical assistants who undergo on the job training.
Those interested in joining medical assistant schools are required to take chemistry, biology, mathematics, computers, bookkeeping and anatomy in high school.
Vocational and technical high schools offer postsecondary medical assistant training programs. The programs are also offered in junior and community colleges. A one year training program results in a medical assistant certificate or diploma while those who take the two year program will normally get an associate degree. However, most US states do not have formal educational training requirements. Nevertheless, some employers would prefer medical assistants who have undergone some form of formal training.
During the training, students will cover medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, record keeping and insurance processing among other courses. They also cover pharmaceutical principals, lab techniques and diagnostic and clinical procedures, medical law and ethics, first aid and patient relations.
Some medical assistant schools are accredited to various organizations such as the AAMA. Students taking accredited programs often go for internship health facilities such as hospitals and physicians’ offices where they gain practical experience.
Some employers also prefer medical assistants who are certified. But certification is not a requirement. However, it serves to indicate the competence of a medical assistant. One can get certification in specific a field like ophthalmology and podiatry among other areas of specialization. Some of the organizations that give medical assistant certification require that those seeking the certification undergo an exam. Those seeking certification must be at least 18 years old.
By getting further training or through experience, medical assistants can diversify to other occupational areas. One can for example become an assistant medical school teacher. It is also possible to advance to become an administrative medical assistant.
Roles of Medical Assistants
The role of a medical assistant varies depending on where they do their practice, their specialization among other considerations.
During their practice, a normal routine of a medical assistant involves assisting a physician to examine patients, observing patients vital signs, recording patient history, administering injections, preparing patients for lab tests and scheduling appointments for the patients.
There is now a new trend where physicians are increasingly using electronic health records where patient information is now being moved online. This new trend is in a way changing the role of medical assistants. They have to learn how to use the electronic health records software especially if it is being used in the health facilities where they work.
Those medical assistants who work at large health practices may be required to do some administrative and clinical jobs. Administrative medical assistants may be required to purchase medical equipment and other supplies. They would also be expected to fill patients’ insurance forms besides coding patient information.
Statistics indicate that job prospects for medical assistants are expected to grow by 31 percent by the year 2020. This is a faster job growth than the average growth in other occupations.
At the same time, many physicians are expected to expand their practices in order to take care of an ageing population. This will in turn mean that they will need to hire more medical assistants to assist in doing clinical and other administrative duties in their practices.
Those who acquire good knowledge in electronic health records software will find it easy to get jobs with health physicians who have adopted this system. They will have an increased role of maintaining electronic health data records.
Qualities of a Medical Assistant
To be an effective medical assistant, one requires having good analytical skills. This is because they will be required to understand and interpret medical records and diagnoses made by physicians.
They are also required to adopt good interpersonal skills in order to be able to relate well with other medical staff that they will be working with. The medical profession requires somebody who will be able to have good interactions with patients. This is one important quality that medical assistants need to have. Dealing with patients is especially complicated and it calls for someone to always be clam no matter the patients’ reaction.