Medical assistants provide many beneficial services for patients and physicians alike. Not only do they provide patients with quality healthcare and help to relieve their stress, but medical assistants also take care of administrative and clinical duties for busy physicians. Although some employers can require either administrative or clinical tasks to be performed, others, such as smaller practices and facilities, will seek an assistant with experience in both categories.
The Administrative Side of Medical Assisting
In an administrative setting, the duties of a medical assistant can include the handling of patient records, dealing with phone calls, and scheduling appointments. These all require excellent listening and communication skills, as much of the information that’s given to patients will likely come from the assistant. These communication skills will also assist when taking down messages to be relayed to doctors and other staff members.
Scheduling appointments is another duty which will need to be learned. Not only that, but should your medical assistant position take you to more than one office, you will be expected to learn and know how to schedule appointments according to that office’s protocol.
There are also many duties surrounding finance, billing, and insurance that the administrative side of medical assisting requires. You will need to process billing statements, as well as be able to verify insurance coverage and coordinate benefits, among other tasks.
Another task of administrative medical assisting involves documenting in both written and electronic formats. Therefore, in addition to medical assistant training in New York, experience with computers will be a requirement.
The Clinical Side of Medical Assisting
Clinical medical assistants tend to perform a more diverse array of tasks than their administrative counterparts. Most of these tasks are supervised either by an experienced medical assistant or by a nurse or doctor.
The clinical medical assistant will be involved in the preparation of patients for various examinations and procedures. This can include the taking and logging of medical history and vital signs. They also explain procedures to patients, as well as sterilize and set up the equipment that the doctor will use.
In the lab, a clinical medical assistant’s duties include the collection and handling of patient samples for testing. They also administer medication, orally, topically, or via intramuscular injection. It’s important to note here that clinical medical assistants are not allowed to perform certain tasks, such as the administering of intravenous medication and working with anesthesia.
The clinical assistant role also involves the management of medical supplies. They ensure the continued availability of supplies in examination rooms, inspect medical supplies for structure and integrity, and also organize and sort lab materials.
Working as a clinical medical assistant will require the proper training in medical procedure and terminology, as well as an ability to prioritize the many responsibilities of the role.
Skills Required for Both Roles
Because doctors and nurses are pressed for time, one important skill that it’s always a good idea to possess in the medical assistant role or acquire via medical assistant programs in NYC is the ability to anticipate their needs, whether that means readying needed equipment for a procedure prior to patient arrival or simply ensuring a particular patient file is ready for review.
In the clinical role, you may also be asked to assist with both routine procedures and examinations, as well as dress wounds and know the aseptic technique. The administrative role may also involve the arranging of prescriptions and the ordering of lab work.
Potential Job Locations
Entry-level medical assistants can work in several environments, including community health centers, hospitals, outpatient clinics, and doctors’ offices. Another job location that’s growing in popularity is to assist physicians with the providing of mobile healthcare for patients at home.
The position of medical assistant allows you to have responsibility for a wide range of tasks, but under the watchful eye of experienced individuals. This benefit of safely honing your skills will reward you with the competence and confidence you’ll require to enter other realms of professional healthcare.