What can you expect in the workplace as a medical assistant?

Are you considering a training program for medical assistants or graduating from one? This article will provide you information on what to expect in the workplace and what the recent COVID situation means for your career.

As a medical assistant, you are an integral team member alongside physicians, with both clinical and administrative duties. You will support patient care with a range of essential activities:

  • Treat all patients and families with respect and a caring attitude
  • Gather patients’ medical histories and new treatment information
  • Measure, record and document patients’ vital signs
  • Assist patients with scheduling and preparing for medical tests or treatments
  • Assist physicians during their examinations or surgical procedures
  • Give instructions to patients as directed by other practitioners
  • Maintain clean medical instruments and rooms, prepare sterilization if required
  • Ensure adequate medical supplies
  • Communicate with patients and other staff, including front office staff, physicians, nurses and referring pharmacies
  • Maintain patient files and information using Electronic Medical Record System
  • Ensure patients’ safety and privacy using OSHA standards and HIPAA regulations.
  • Participate in meetings and share your observations when appropriate
  • React calmly and effectively in emergency situations
  • Maintain CPR certification and participate in professional development activities

Since our health care system is rapidly evolving due to COVID-19, there is a growing demand on the number and skillsets for medical assistants. As such, you may also expect some additional roles apart from the standard duties listed above.

For example, current medical assistant apprentices who are completing their 11-month program have stepped up to help with COVID-related duties in an employee testing center. Here, the apprentices are performing COVID-19 swab tests and training for nursing assistant skills in case of a surge in COVID cases. In addition, the students are learning from licensed teachers at the UW Health daycare center. With proper childcare knowledge, medical assistants can help look after children of healthcare workers on the COVID frontline.

If you love helping people and making a difference in the healthcare space, medical assistant is a rewarding profession that is in increasing demand.

Blog Post written by:
Dr. Eida Lopez
Medical Assistant Instructor