A Day in the Life of a Medical Assistant

Article Categories: What is a Medical Assistant & Patient Care

Ask any seasoned medical assistant what they do in a day’s work, and they could respond with a long list of all the nitty-gritty details regarding their role and responsibilities, which are many! But a medical assistant's duty can be summed up in only a few words - It is basically making a physician's life a lot easier while keeping patients safe and properly monitored.

If you are looking into working as a medical assistant, or are a newbie student wanting a peek into your future career, here's a summary of the everyday tasks an MA is responsible for performing:

Medical assistants have two main responsibilities: carry out clinical tasks and perform administrative duties.

As a clinical MA, you will get to perform non-invasive procedures such as obtaining an ECG. You will also examine patients and perform more complex tasks under the doctor's supervision. As patients come in, you will take their patient history and measure vital signs, height, and weight. If a client is due for an examination by the physician, you’ll have to inform the patient in advance about the procedure and prep them so that the physician and patient can experience a hassle-free procedure.

Medical assistants also prepare medications and administer them, but only after a direct order from the physician. They also inject vaccines, draw blood and perform fingersticks, and collect some specimens. They can change wound dressings or remove sutures. If you are an MA in a hospital, you may spend hours in a laboratory, testing a client's blood, urine, or stool.

Spoiler alert: As an MA you will be doing a lot of patient education! So keep those concepts from school fresh in your mind!

If, on the other hand, you work as an administrative medical assistant, it will be mostly office work for you. Your interaction with patients and their families is mostly about scheduling, form submissions, and answering general questions. Queries also come by telephone, so expect to pick up a few calls during the day.

Administrative MAs do a lot of scheduling and appointment-setting. This task involves reminding patients of their next follow-up visit and updating their calendar with other important reminders.

Since most patients have insurance, an MA is often tasked with assisting patients in experiencing a smooth process while navigating available health services. MAs assist patients in filling out insurance forms and verifying information. Administrative medical assistants also need to enter patient data electronically and keep all the files systematically.

In hospitals, MAs will do more clinical tasks than administrative duties, since their patients are ill and receiving acute care or services that necessitate hospital admission. However, physician assistants who work in clinics will have a balance of both worlds, more or less. Technically, they assist patients who come in for consultation. They also do scheduling, data entry, and health teaching.

Some medical assistants work in the ambulatory setting and accompany the rescue team to emergency situations. They fill out patient forms and collect laboratory specimens, which they test on site. Of course, if you choose this type of work, you will frequently be on the go. But if rescuing people on the road gets you inspired, then this work is for you!

Perhaps the main point of a medical assistant’s role and responsibilities is to enable physicians to spend their time diagnosing and treating patients. As an MA, you will partner with the physician by taking some burdens off their shoulders so they can improve the patient’s health, or even save their life. So maintain a bond between your physician and yourself as their assistant. This will be your ticket to a more rewarding career!

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