An Overview of the Job Description and the Training Program of a Medical Assistant

A medical assistant is someone who keeps the doctor’s office, medical center or clinic running smoothly. Their duties will depend on where they work and the size of the practice. In general the job is a combination of jobs as a manager, a nurse and a clerk all in one. The job involves basics in both nursing and medicine, some hospital management as well as tasks that are solely clerical or accounting. So the responsibilities will be a combination of clinical and administrative duties.

Administrative duties include welcoming patients, scheduling patient appointments in an organized way according to the doctor’s schedule, maintaining medical records, handling both internal and external calls and transferring the latter to the different departments. Additional duties include assisting with billing and collection of payments, updating the notice board on the in charge’s instructions. Handling insurance information of patients and also helping to explain the small print as they assist a new patient fill out the forms. Data entry also falls under their area of responsibility.

Clinical duties include taking vital signs, counseling patients about treatment, doing lab tests and preparing lab specimens, getting patient history and assisting the doctors when they conduct Benzo Withdrawal medical exams. Additional counseling involves diet, exercise and safe administration of medication. They hand out prescriptions and under a doctor’s supervision also ensure refills. They remove stitches, do dressings and get patients ready for tests such as x ray, ECG, etc. They also make sure that the examination rooms are clean between exams and the materials used are replenished in a timely fashion.

Most of these assistants will perform a combination of the above duties and the facility in which they work will determine which duties they perform regularly.

This is a growing field in terms of job opportunities with no reduction of growth in the foreseeable future due to the aging population and new technology that is increasing their lifespan. The large demand for these medical assistants is also a result of the increased number of outpatient facilities now available in the US.

Programs in vocational schools, community and junior colleges offer training for students who wish to pursue a career as a medical assistant. The one year program gives you a certificate while the two year program offers you an associate degree. The curriculum covers a wide range of courses which include medical terminology, physiology, anatomy, typing, transcription, accounting, record keeping, insurance processing, lab methods, drug and medicine principles, basic first aid and administration of medicines. The program usually ends with an internship in a recognized hospital or clinic.


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