Medical assistants are health care providers who perform clinical and administrative tasks to help doctors and other health care representatives. The role of the medical assistants varies depending upon the location of work, specialty of the practitioner and size of the hospital or clinic. However, The satisfaction and health of a patient should be the number one priority of any medical assistant. It is a simple concept, but on the same note complex. Each patient may have different expectations about the care they are receiving, patient-physician relationship, and costs of treatments.
As a medical assistant, I have the ability to address some of these expectations. Medical assistants are an important part of the medical field both for the doctor and the patients. Medical assistants have many tasks that they must do on daily basis. Usually in smaller practices, such as the one where I work, the medical assistants have a larger scope of things that must be learned because there are more things they have to look after as compared to a larger practice. Administrative medical assistants usually update and take care of medical records and paperwork, and arrange for hospital admissions and laboratory services.
They also perform customer-oriented tasks such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, and scheduling appointments. Clinical medical assistants job include tasks such as taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing them for examinations, and assisting doctors during examinations. They also perform “forensic” tasks such as collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, disposing off of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. Within the practice that I work at, we perform both the administrative and clinical tasks.
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However, we only prepare the lab request forms and the patients have the blood work drawn off site. Also, we have two front office people who schedule all the appointments. A medical assistant may also instruct patients about medications and special diets, authorize drug refills, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy etc. They may even arrange examining room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean. As a medical assistant, there are other tasks that need to be performed that may not be as obvious as those listed above.
A medical assistant must have good interpersonal skills. They have to be able to create a positive rapport with the patient. Usually the medical assistant is first to see the patient and sets the tone for the visit and perhaps the treatment plan. Secondly, medical assistants need to be very good at time management. Making sure that the patient is seen and treated in a timely manner is critical to the flow of the schedule. A lot of the time in our practice, we have to keep the doctor on track as he tends to get caught up talking to the patients about other things.
He is aware that he gets sidetracked a lot so we have little signals that we can use to let him know that he is taking too much time on non-related conversation. The ability to work as a team helps keep the schedule on time. Patience and compassion are other things that a medical assistant need have a lot of. Many times patients do not pick instructions up quickly, and that can be a cause of frustration. After our doctor, Dr. Latham, leaves the room, we often, if not always, have to go back over the instructions. Dr. Latham talks really fast and most of our patients are older and do not hear as well.
There are a few different programs a medical assistant can go through for training. They include, administrative, clerical or clinical training programs. There are three types of medical assistant courses available: diploma, certification or associates. Most of the medical assistant schools offer a one-year postsecondary program that either last for 1 year and result in a certificate or diploma, or 2 years and result in an associate degree. “Medical assistants are not required to be certified. ” (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
In most states, on-the-job training is allowed in place of an actual certification such as in my case. There are several different ways that an employer can use to identify and select a potential employee. According to our text, “The goal of the selection process is to identify the best candidates who possess the most influential qualities a job requires and who fit the organizational culture well. These qualities include a combination of critical knowledge, skills, and abilities; appropriate experience and education; and personal characteristics, traits, and attitudes. (Youssef, 2012 sec. 5. 1). Probably the two most common ways are through resumes and interviews. Looking at a persons resume is the quickest and easiest way to see the pertinent facts of a potential employee. This selection method impacts the achievement of organizational objectives by being a quick and concise way to see a run down the of the persons qualifications and experience. It allows the organization to quickly see at a glance if the person would benefit the organization without wasting too much time.
Interviews are the most common way of hiring an employee. This selection method impacts the achievement of organizational objectives by being able to directly interact with the person. It can be a good way to judge “their communication skills, interpersonal skills, and technical experience and knowledge. ”(Youssef, 2012 sec. 5. 3). The downside to this method is that it is more time consuming as well as misleading in some ways. A person can be really good at the interview but not very good at the job.
On the other hand a person can be nervous and bad at the interview but excellent at the job but was not hired because of the interview. The satisfaction and health of that patient should be the number one priority of a medical assistant. While the role of the medical assistants varies depending upon the location of work, specialty of the practitioner and size of the hospital or clinic, they are an important part of the medical field. Whether the medical assistant has a certification or not, they must have the ability and skill set to perform all of the varied tasks required of them.
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