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How Medical Assistants Are Helping Doctors and Patients

February 20, 2009 0 Comments

Doctors can often seem like superheroes or miracle workers, but they can't do it all. Most doctors work with a large staff of assistants that assist the doctor in day-to-day activities and help ensure that physician offices, hospitals and other health care facilities can provide patients with the best care possible.

The field of medical assisting, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, is projected to be one of the fastest growing occupations through 2014. The Bureau advises these professionals receive as much medical assistant training as possible to boost their potential. Medical assistant training is the first step towards pursuing a career as a medical assistant. Medical assistants are expected to assume many roles and to perform daily activities effectively and safely. So just what do medical assistants do? Let's take a peak at a day in the life of today's medical assistants.

The duties of medical assistants depend upon the needs of the health facility they are employed with. This being said, many medical assistants provide support in similar ways. Medical assistants can provide support in both clinical and non-clinical environments.

Clinical Duties
Not all medical assistants are required or permitted to perform clinical duties. Those that do provide care directly to patients, do so in a variety of ways. Common tasks include: taking medical histories and recording vital signs of admitted patients, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations. Medical assistants can also be called on to collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They might instruct patients about medications and special diets or prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician. Source:

Medical assistants also may arrange examining room instruments and equipment, purchase and maintain supplies and equipment, and keep waiting and examining rooms neat and clean. These are just some common tasks medical assistants perform to assists doctors and care for patients, depending upon where you work and the needs of your patients this may change. Medical assistants can learn to perform these duties in medical assistant courses and classes.

Administrative Duties
Medical assistants often perform administrative duties as well. Some common tasks include: updating and maintaining file patients' medical records, filling out insurance forms, and arranging for hospital admissions and laboratory services. They also perform tasks less specific to medical settings, such as answering telephones, greeting patients, handling correspondence, scheduling appointments, and handling billing and bookkeeping. Medical assistants ensure health facilities run smoothly and that doctors can focus on patient care rather than waste their skills filling out paperwork and scheduling patient appointments. Medical assistant courses can help teach students how to perform these tasks.

Medical Assistant Training
Students in medical assistant training and medical assistant courses can learn many skills that will help them perform day-to-day responsibilities. Some areas that medical assistant courses teach will include:

  • Medical terminology
  • Medical practices
  • Communication skills
  • Critical-thinking skills
  • Decision-making skills
  • Organizational skills
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Laboratory skills
  • And More

To learn more about medical assistant courses near you and how medical assistant training can prepare you to pursue a rewarding career, click here.

Sanford-Brown - Hazelwood is close to many locations:
Ballwin, MO - approximately 22.2 miles
Saint Peters, MO - approximately 17.6 miles
O'Fallon, MO - approximately 22.3 miles
St. Louis, MO - approximately 20.8 miles

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-09 Edition, Medical Assistants, on the Internet at (visited January 20, 2009).


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