Snap Shot

Medical Assistant Snapshot


A medical assistant is a valuable part of a patient care team in a hospital, physician's office, private practice and other ambulatory care facilities. They pretty much do a lot of things, requiring them to be a multi-tasker, but five of the top medical assistant responsibilities that they perform day in and day out include taking vital information of patients, preparing schedules for medical staff, assisting physicians and nurses, preparing laboratory samples, and administering medication prepared and supervised by doctors or other medical professionals.

Their duties and responsibilities vary, depending on the law of jurisdiction, educational attainment and certification, and the skills and knowledge acquired. Employers also have the right to limit job responsibilities of a medical assistant if they lack the required training or education.

Medical assistants are not limited to working in outpatient and ambulatory care facilities. They are also employed in correctional facilities, continuing care homes, and even in schools and institutions in need of a medical assistant teacher. Although the job doesn't require a particular formal training to qualify for entry level position, certification is an added prerequisite that most employers look for. Therefore, if you want to do more than just update and file patient records, you should enroll in accredited programs and become certified, on top of your high school diploma.

Many might think that a medical assistant has it easy compared with other healthcare professions. Little do they know that it is probably easier to give injection to a sedated patient, than to deal with someone wide awake, in pain and irritable.


What are the challenges that medical assistants have to face?


Patients difficult to deal with

Part of a job as a medical assistant is to provide exceptional customer service, which is not an easy task if you encounter patients who think it is their right to find fault in what you are doing, and it is your responsibility to deal with them as they see fit. You are likely to meet such patients at least once in a day. And the case you would have to deal could vary from a simple problem to a ridiculous one. The real challenge, however, is maintaining professionalism and composure in all of these situations.


Staying detached

It's a tall order for medical assistants to be friendly, approachable and personable, and still be able to avoid personal and emotional attachment or affiliation with any patient. Humans are emotional beings, after all, and it is so easy for a health staff to become close to a patient. But medical assistants have to be professional at all times, which means being emotionally detached as much as possible.


Effective communication

How do you communicate with medical professionals clearly and precisely, and then switch off to deal with patients on a more personal level? It is safe to say that effective communication in the context of medical assistance is not as straightforward as it seems. They not only need proper vocal communication, but also provide notes that are well-written and easy to read. Messing up a patient’s records is a major no-no in this profession.

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