Medical Assistant 101
Have you ever thought about what exactly a medical assistant does? Or have you ever thought about how the profession itself began? Well, then keep reading.
The profession of medical assistant (MA) dates back to the 1930s. In 1934, a physician by the name of Dr. M. Mandl realized that his medical clinic would benefit a bit more with a few extra helping hands. He is responsible for opening up the first Medical Assisting School in New York City. His overall goal was to provide efficient medical training in a timely manner to potential MAs. These students would eventually graduate to become significant assets to health care providers all over the world.
An ideal MA would need to be organized and be able to multi-task. Most clinics have more than one provider, which usually calls for more than one MA. Sometimes an MA will assist several providers at a time and must be on their toes about the needs and preferences of each of them. Having an outgoing personality, good heart, and showing empathy is a must in this field. Like most careers, your co-workers tend to be your family. Working in the medical field, your patients become your family.
According to the United States Department of Labor and Statistics, employment for medical assistants is expected to grow by 31 percent between 2010 and 2020, much faster than the average for all occupations. Training to become an MA is not only hands-on, but also short-term, allowing students to quickly get experience and gain an education in order to start working in the field.
MAs are able to work at various types of medical clinics—including hospitals, walk-in clinics, urgent care centers, blood donation centers, and phosphate mines. Yes, phosphate mines. An MA working at a phosphate mine may be responsible for organizing and facilitating health screenings for the miners to ensure their blood pressure and sugar readings are within a normal limit and a safe range. Medical care spans far beyond the typical doctor's office.
Daily tasks for an MA can range, depending on the type of clinic they work in and the patient flow. Trained in both administrative and clinical procedures, MAs have the best of both worlds. Not only will you find them scheduling appointments and handling billing and bookkeeping, but MAs also prepare patients for their examinations, collecting and preparing laboratory specimens, performing EKGs, phlebotomy, and administering medications. All of this will occur under the supervision of a physician.
As you can see, the day in the life of an MA can be long and challenging; but at the end of the day, all of the hard work pays off. Being determined, dedicated, and passionate about medicine and their patients, MAs have it made.