Pediatric Patients: They’re NOT Miniature Adults!

Article Categories: What is a Medical Assistant & Patient Care

Medical Assistants who choose to work in pediatrics know they are in a different world. From wearing teddy bear scrubs to making funny faces during vaccinations, Pediatric MAs are comfortable being silly all day. They are also important team members who interact with patients and parents.

Pediatric Medical Assistants do many of the same duties as their colleagues in other settings: making appointments, checking in patients, taking vital signs, and updating medical records.

What’s so different about pediatrics? If you’ve been wondering if a career as a Pediatric Medical Assistant is right for you, here are some things to know:

1. You need to always be “on.” When working with pediatric patients--from infants to teens--you have to be prepared for any situation. Some kids don’t mind coming in for appointments. Others are terrified of anything medical. A sick child needs soothing, an asthmatic teen requires education, a school physical can be easy...or not, if it’s time for shots. Each patient is unique, which makes the job both fun and challenging. Your personal problems must be left at home, because your responsibility is to provide the best possible experience, every single time.

2. Childhood means constant change. We all know that a one-year old has different needs from a nine-year old. But what exactly is the “normal” range for every age? Knowing the physical and psychological stages of human development is essential in pediatrics. When you know what to expect, you can provide appropriate care, support, and education for patients of all ages.

3. Fun and distraction are necessary. Many kids are nervous about visiting the doctor. As the friendly Medical Assistant, you can make a huge difference in how the appointment goes. Can you weigh and measure a little girl’s doll? Ask about superheroes? Blow bubbles to distract a toddler? Draw a happy face on a Band-Aid? When you know what children like, you can make games out of procedures.

4. Parents are part of the package. Parents can be even more anxious than their children. Every parent will tell you how broken-hearted they were when their babies got that first round of vaccinations. Listening to their concerns, offering education and reassurance, then explaining again requires true patience and empathy. First-time parents or even experienced parents facing a new crisis may seem dramatic, but they only want the best for their children.

5. Details and documentation go together. When talking with children and parents, pay attention to everything they tell you. Small details can be important when determining a diagnosis or a developmental problem. Symptoms can be difficult to pinpoint, but may come up during a conversation about what happened during a recent outing. Ask questions and record what you’re told.

If you enjoy busy days and a bustling office, pediatrics may be a good fit for your Medical Assistant skills. Making patients and parents feel comfortable can shape how they feel about healthcare. Your warm and welcoming attitude will make you everyone’s favorite Medical Assistant.

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