There are numerous considerations when considering whether to enter a career in medical assisting. This article will discuss the medical assisting career, so you can determine if the career is a good fit.
Medical Assistants are employed in doctor’s offices, hospitals and other healthcare facilities. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics fifty-seven (57) percent of all Medical Assistants are employed in private doctor’s offices and fifteen (15) percent are employed in hospitals.
Most Medical Assistants have some administrative duties and some clinical duties. Some larger medical facilities have assistants who specialize in clinical or administrative duties. Some Medical Assistant duties may include taking and recording patient histories, measuring vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure, weight and respiration, take and record electrocardiographs (EKG), perform Phlebotomy (drawing blood), performing simple lab tests, scheduling patient appointments and entering patient information into medical records. Most medical facilities have switched from paper records to electronic records. Therefore, the Medical Assistant must be able to input the patients records into the facilities electronic system. The duties will vary significantly based on the specialty of the healthcare facility, the size of the facility and its location.
The effective Medical Assistant must be able to take accurate readings on a timely basis and must be able to record these readings in the patient’s file. In today’s healthcare field patient confidentiality is very important. Therefore, it is important that the patient’s records are only discussed with healthcare employees who are working with the patient. Most Medical Assistants spend a good part of the day standing so it is important that you can stand for a good portion of the work day.
Most doctors who hire a medical assistant want someone who has achieved at least a high school diploma or its equivalency. If you do not have this important credential and want to be a Medical Assistant, it is important that you either finish high school or study and take the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC). If you reside in the state of New York, please go to http://www.acces.nysed.gov/what-hsetasc-test to find information on how to take and study for the TASC.
Another important factor when considering a career in this field is to assess whether you enjoy working with many different people over the course of a day. Most Medical Assistants work in busy offices where they must serve many different people on a daily basis. The assistants must be engaging and polite with patients who are often nervous and sometimes in considerable pain. If a patient is in pain a medical assistant must act in a calm and professional manner. A medical assistant may see twenty-five (25) patients a day and before choosing this career everyone should ask themselves if they can keep themselves in an upbeat mood for all twenty-five (25) patients that they may see daily.
Another question to ask yourself prior to embarking on this career path is will I be able to earn a satisfactory salary? According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/medical-assistants.htm) the 2016 median annual earnings of a Medical Assistant was $31,540. Medical Assistants often go back to school, so they can advance and earn a higher salary in the healthcare field. Some of the careers Medical Assistants advance into are Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN), Registered Nurse (RN), Respiratory Therapists, X-Ray Technician and Physicians Assistant. In the New York City area admission into these programs are competitive so it is important to maintain good grades.
Being a Medical Assistant is a good profession if you like being on your feet for a good portion of the work day, have earned at least a high school diploma or its equivalency and enjoy engaging and helping a wide variety of people. While Medical Assistants have earnings limitations, it can be considered a great entry level position in the healthcare field.