The medical office assistant performs a variety of administrative and clinical tasks in order to keep the offices of doctors and heath practitioners running smoothly. The duties of the medical assistant vary depending upon a number of factors including the size and location of the medical office, as well as the specific practice of the doctor. In smaller practices, the assistant may find herself doing many different jobs, including both medical and clerical. If the practice is large enough, the assistant may find that she will be specializing in one particular area. The medical office assistant is not the same as a physician’s assistant, however. A physician’s assistant will often perform the duties of a registered nurse, diagnosing and treating patients, where a medical assistant often does things like take vital signs and do the initial medical interview.
There are three main classes that the medical office assistant falls into. The administrative assistant usually deals with the paperwork side of things. It will be her job to fill out insurance forms and arrange for laboratory tests. Depending on the size of the office, and the number of employees, they may also be required to work at the front of the office, answering phones, making appointments, and greeting patients. Many of the clerical and bookkeeping duties may fall upon the medical assistant who has specialized in administrative training.
The clinical medical office assistant will generally handle more of the medical side of things. Drawing blood and assisting the doctor during procedures will fall under the job description of this type of assistant. Duties of the clinical assistant will also include such things as preparing examination rooms, instructing patients on medications, and even authorizing pharmaceutical refills. Assistants in this line of work generally have more medical training, thus can be a step down from the nurse. These types of assistants will more likely be found in medium sized clinics.
Another type of medical office assistant is one who specializes in a form of medicine. These are more often found in larger clinics or specialists clinics. An example of a specialized medical assistant would be one that works in an orthopedic office. Because the office specializes in the bones of the human body, the assistant will also be trained for the field. They will then use that training to assist the doctor in various procedures, taking a lot of the work load from the doctor. Duties might include taking x-rays, casting broken bones, and even assisting in surgery. Because she is specialized, the assistant will find that she has a lot more medical duties than other assistants.
The medical office assistant is a large driving force in keeping a medical clinic functioning smoothly and efficiently. Depending upon the training, size and location of the office, and the number of employees, the assistant will have a variety of tasks. The career path of a medical office assistant can be extremely rewarding, and the position is in high demand. Fortunately, schooling can go rather quickly, depending on the branch of study the assistant chooses. The more specialized the training however, the longer that schooling is. In the end, the medical assistant gets as much pleasure out of her job as she decides it is worth. However, the respect received from both doctors and patients can be reward enough.
Virgil Ramos has trained and worked in many different medical offices throughout his career.