A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

Although students going through training school in NYC may feel like they understand what it will be like once they get through their program and enter the professional healthcare sector, working medical assistants will agree that there are some things that you will simply have to learn on the job.

Medical Assistant with Patient

Medical assistants often face a series of challenges throughout the day that test their flexibility, their cooperation skills, and their ability to act quickly during a crisis. By researching more about the experiences faced by different people entering this profession, you can better understand how you’ll react once you find yourself in the hospital setting.

The Beginning of the Shift

Most medical offices open at 8 a.m. or earlier if doctors are available and have scheduled appointments outside of office hours. In some cases, medical assistants are asked to report for duty thirty minutes to an hour before patients are scheduled to arrive. This way, a medical assistant can get some of their desk work done while the office is still relatively quiet and before the rush of patients turns things into a frenzy. This desk work can include:

  • Prepping charts
  • Reviewing phone messages or emails
  • Going over patient schedules with doctors and nurses
  • Filling out paperwork like health check forms, insurance paperwork, and surgical permission slips
  • Getting examination rooms ready for surgical procedures

Some medical offices will have some of these tasks handled by a unit coordinator or a call center, but, in most cases, this work will be done by on-staff medical assistants in addition to their care duties.

The Middle of the Shift

Once patients arrive, a medical assistant’s work will be cut out for them. Not only will most medical assistants be asked to check-in patients for their appointments, they’ll also be expected to verify the patient’s information and health insurance. In most cases, medical assistants will also take vitals and make any preparations necessary for the day’s procedure.

During all of this, a medical assistant is also meant to help physicians with simple procedures or more complex ones if they have earned enough trust. These procedures can include:

  • Giving injections
  • Drawing blood
  • Helping with stitches
  • Observing patient vitals
  • Replacing IV drips

Keep in mind, it’s very rare that every patient during the day is on time for their appointment. This means that a medical assistant will also spend pockets of their day rescheduling appointments and squeezing other patients in early.

The End of the Shift

insurance claim form

Depending on how the day goes, you may find yourself processing patients for appointments even once the healthcare facility closes. Once all of the patients are gone, medical assistants will often use the silence to complete any tasks that have been lingering over them throughout the day. By completing all of their charts, handling prescription refills, scheduling appointments, and returning any phone calls and emails they may have missed, medical assistants will be able to start the next day fresh and keep their head above water.

Those interested in joining the healthcare sector by becoming a medical assistant should research the various medical assistant training schools in NYC that can help them pass their certification exam and find job placement.


  1. http://theemedicalassistants.com/what-is-a-typical-ma-workday-like/
  2. http://www.medicalassistants.net/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-medical-assistant