Top 5 Tips for Becoming a Medical Assistant
If you’ve done your homework, you know a career as a medical assistant is the right choice. The job outlook is experiencing a major growth spurt right now --- 23 percent to be exact. With an average national annual job growth of 0.5 percent, 23 percent is quite a substantial number. One reason is due to baby boomers who require more healthcare than ever. Medical assistants are a much needed asset to clinics, private practices and hospitals alike.
Medical assisting can make a rewarding career or a great foundational stepping-stone to launch into healthcare. Read on for our top five tips on acquiring a job as a medical assistant.
Top 5 Tips for Becoming a Medical Assistant
1. Throw your expectations of routine out the window.
Every day is different in the life of a medical assistant. This can mean taking inventory, doing throat cultures, suture removals, EKGs and even a little medical billing and coding all in one day… and being skillful at every task.
2. Consider your assets.
A good medical assistant is technical, analytical, interpersonal and detail-oriented. Technically, the medical assistant will utilize instruments while executing clinical tasks like wound cultures, wound care and glucose tests. Analytically, medical assisting often involves pre-certifying patients for surgeries or procedures. Working with insurance companies, as medical assistants often do, requires an analytical mindset. Interpersonally, medical assistants must work well with patients. In some cases, patient education is facilitated from the medical assistant so it’s important that your communication skills are on point. To be detail-oriented is to be consistently precise. Whether entering patient information into the system, testing for anemia or preparing a room, medical assistants must take special care to perform without error.
3. Enroll in a program that works for you.
Do you have a hands-on learning style? Are small class sizes important to you? Do your research, ask questions and bring a friend or family member along for additional support. Another pair of eyes and ears is incredibly helpful while touring colleges.
4. Study hard.
Even with 10-month diploma programs like the one at Stautzenberger College, you get what you put into it. Everything you learn in school will serve as a foundation when you reach your end goal: getting a job in the medical field.
5. Connect with career services and others who are willing to help you find a job.
During that externship towards the end of your education, it is crucial to put in the maximum effort to present yourself as a professional, skilled medical assistant. After all, it’s your debut in the healthcare field and word travels fast in the medical industry. In some cases, it could even serve as an on-the-job interview. It is also important to touch base with the career services department as you gear up for graduation. The college’s connections to potential employers will help you in your search, as will the valuable résumé and interview tips the department provides.
What it Takes
A medical assistant must be a well-rounded healthcare professional, well versed in everything from front office (administrative) tasks to back office (clinical) tasks. In this position, you are both the face and the backbone of a medical institution. You are the often the first and the last person a patients encounters, so an aptitude for customer service is imperative.
Responsibilities of a medical assistant vary by the institution, but most medical assistants are well practiced in the following skills as noted by our friends at the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
· Record patient history (asking questions about family health history, health habits, etc.)
· Measure vital signs (ex: blood pressure, temperature, pulse, etc.)
· Assist the doctor with patient examinations (assisting in office procedures/surgeries)
· Give patients injections or medications as instructed by the doctor
· Schedule patient appointments (whether it’s a follow-up or a related appointment.. an MRI, for example)
· Prepare blood samples for laboratory tests (here at Stautzenberger College, MAs also learn phlebotomoy)
· Updating patient information in electronic medical records
About the Author
Kelsey Cullen has been gaining public relations, advertising and marketing experience in the Cleveland-Akron area since 2010. Cullen joined Stautzenberger College as a Community Outreach Coordinator in January 2016. She wears many hats at the school; including admissions, event planning, social media producing and guest speaking in high schools. Cullen is currently engaged to Kevin Kelsey (no that is not a typo) and is an admitted crazy cat mom to Rorschach and Crash.
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