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Medical Assistant Schools
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To become a medical assistant candidates must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma,
communicate well, understand the purpose of medical exams and proceduress, relay patient's questions and
physician's answers precisely, assist with registration forms, referral and consent forms, safely room patients,
take vital signs, prepare patients mentally and physically for scheduled procedures and keep things organized,
safe and clean. A higher degree of awareness is necessary when the duties are mostly clinical, rather than
administrative, since more harm can be done when infection control measures are disregarded and direct
patient care procedures aren't properly carried out.
Nevertheless entering incorrect patient demographics, or medical histories into the medical chart can be just as
detrimental as clinical errors. Medical assistants must be vigilant, engaged, alert and well informed.
Administrative medical assistants in a large group practice shared by several physicians and practitioners often
provide clerical and administrative services to all patients collectively, whereas the clinical medical assistant
usually focuses only on patients that belong to the doctor he/she is directly working under for that day. Typical
duties of the administrative medical assistant include welcoming and checking in patients, new patient
registration, financial and consent form completion, health insurance verification and maintaining appointment
schedules, this includes entering patient data and demographics into computer databases, typing
correspondences and medical transcripts, calling patients with appointment reminders, route incoming phone
calls and messages, call the pharmacy for prescription order refills and arrange for patient hospital admissions
as ordered by the doctor.
If a patient calls in sick, or a mother has a sick child the administrative
medical assistant will pull their chart and fit them into the doctor's schedule
to be seen that day. When the patient arrives the administrative medical
assistant will verify all demographics and insurance coverage and lets the
clinical medical assistant know they are waiting to be seen. If blood, or other
specimens need to be collected, the clinical medical assistant will take
care of that in a designated back office area for privacy. If a patient needs
to wear a gown for the exam the clinical medical assistant will show how to
wear it and help the patient to be positioned on the examination table. If
certain areas need to be draped, the medical assistant also takes care of
this, while also setting up instruments that may be needed.
About Injections: We often are asked whether a medical assistant is
allowed to administer injections. The answer, generally is yes, if he, or she
has been properly instructed, the skill was adequately assessed, and he, or
she is directly supervised by a doctor or other licensed practitioner. Then, and only then, are medical assistants
allowed to give intradermal, subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, but NEVER intravenous injections! Most
vaccines are administered intramuscularly, and this is probably where medical assistants are utilized the most.
They also can give vitamin B-12 and allergy injections IF SO TRAINED. Part of the process is to assures the
sterility of equipment and supplies, managing waste safely, documenting the procedure in the patient's medical
record, and montitoring and charting any adverse reactions.
Medical assistants in orthopedics, dental office, chiropractic, or physical therapy locations often are directly
involved in operating x-ray devices, and developing radiological images, which in many cases requires a limited
x-ray license depending on governing state laws. They are expected to be familiar with computers, databases
and data retrieval and input devices that directly link to a central database to upload pertinent patient information
into a central unit. They remain with a patient that has just received any form of medication, undergone allergy
testing, is acutely ill, has seizures, pain, bleeding, or fainted to observe, monitor and minimize trauma to the
patient, charts these incidents in the patient's medical record, takes the patient's vital signs, prepares and
positions them for their exams, sets up instrument trays, adjusts and operates therapeutic devices, assists during
exams, maintains equipment, logs results, answers phones, calls in prescription orders to the pharmacy and
administers medications as ordered by the doctor, all part of the daily routine. Often these positions with such
highly skilled duties and expectations also come with higher wages and better over-all benerits and
Focusing on ECG/EKG is ideal for medical assistants with special interest in the cardiovascular system. They
understand the mechanism of the heart and circulatory system and the biometabolism of heart medications such
as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, Calcium channel blockers as well as cardiac glycosides so that they can
correlate the different heart medications to specific cardiac rhythms. Those with ECG/EKG certifications may get
jobs as telemetry technicians with a cardiology specialty medical practice, ambulatory emergency clinic, or
hospital Intensive care ICU, CCU, emergency and medical surgical floors and even home-care. Typically, they set
up ECG monitoring devices and with enough experience, may recognize abnormal heart rhythms such as atrial
fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, premature ventricular and atrial contractions, and type I, II and III heart blocks.