Medical Assistants are important figures in allied health. Expected to be skillful in a number of areas, including administrative, laboratory and clinical settings, a medical assistant is essentially a medical professional with a hand in every cookie jar.
With a fairly short training cycle, a medical assistant is taught a number of soft and clinical skills including communicating effectively to patients, charting medical histories, performing electrocardiograms, taking vital signs, preparing patients for physicals, authorizing prescriptions, operating healthcare software, billing and coding, and a host of others.
Medical assistants have the opportunity to grow and transition in their career. If you’re interested in becoming a medical assistant, there are some tell-tale features that only the very best possess.
Quality Patient Care
Healthcare is a growing field, with the need for medical assistants expected to grow as much as 23 percent by 2024. As the field grows, so does a patient’s need for quality care. Patients are like customers in that they are paying for a specific service. An excellent medical assistant recognizes each patient’s individual needs in care and coverage, and makes sure that their experience is a good one. A medical assistant aids their patients in deciding which physician the patient will meet with and how to provide them with the best care in the meantime.
Aptitude for the Task at Hand
Medical assistants work at the front desk, in the back office and in the exam room. As a professional wearing many hats, a medical assistant is responsible for knowing the medical history of the patient, why the patient is visiting, the current health condition of the patient, and the patient’s insurance provider. All of this information helps the attending physician provide the best care for the patient.
Works Well with Others
Working behind the scenes and taking center stage are the dual daily duties of the medical assistant. As an administrator and assistant, the medical assistant works with the receptionist at the front desk, the doctor in the exam room, the coding and billing department in the back office, as well as in the lab retrieving patient test results. This requires finesse, professionalism and team work. Like a well-oiled machine, each department serves a specific purpose in the larger context of the patient. To do this well, a medical assistant must be a team player.
Room to Grow
Because a medical assistant is one of the more well-rounded professionals in the healthcare system, it’s expected that they are able to transition from one department to the next without any hiccups. Becoming a medical assistant largely depends on the specific training and curriculum you’re exposed to. For example, Arizona College’s MA training provides a well-rounded education that’ll prepare students to adjust to any department in the clinic. From time to time, medical assistants will be asked to fill in for a colleague or help a short-staffed department for the day, all while having to stay on top of the regular MA duties. This is where soft and clinical skills really come in handy.
As medical assistants move between departments and have face time each day with a variety of people, they’re expected to maintain a constant level of professionalism. As we all know, This isn’t always easy, especially when a bad day is brewing. Not all personality types click, and sometimes Karen in billing can be a little lethargic. No matter how frustrating a co-worker may be or how hard-headed a manager is, the professionalism of a medical assistant is as constant as the rising sun. In order to maintain a well-run office, professionalism is key. Being cordial when it’s the last thing you want to do can be very difficult, but a professional can do it with ease.
Working with the public isn’t easy. There are a lot of roles medical assistants must play and they’re not always appreciated by those being served. But without medical assistants, clinics would run into the ground, and the collective health of our nation would plummet.