What Does a Medical Assistant Do?

what does a medical assistant do professionally

Medical assistants play a crucial role in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare offices. The duties of a medical assistant primarily consist of administrative and clerical tasks, but the role is expanding.

Here are a few other things a medical assistant might do:

  • Measure vital signs
  • Assist with examinations
  • Administer medication and injections
  • Prepare blood and other samples for laboratory analysis

The scope and responsibility of medical assistants is changing the profession and today, employers are looking to hire assistants with more education and experience. To answer the question: what does a medical assistant do, it really helps to look at the industry post-2000.

Traditionally, medical assistants were trained on-the-job, but a growing demand for medical professionals has expanded their role to include more hands-on treatment and closer interaction with patients.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do? A Day in the Life

Duties may vary depending on where you work. At a smaller private clinic, medical assistants may be responsible for a wide variety of duties. These cities could include taking patient information and processing them for treatment, taking history and vital signs, assisting doctors and nurses with examinations, scheduling appointments, filing and tracking medical records and taking blood pressure.

At larger operations such as hospitals, medical assistants may have a more narrow focus. You may have a specialty area, such as taking vital signs, taking incoming patient info or preparing patients for examinations and laboratory tests.

The question, what does a medical assistant do, can be answered in many different ways. Professionals in the field are trained to perform a number of crucial tasks.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do? Specialty Areas

Many working medical assistants are considered specialists because they focus on one particular area of medicine, or a specific group of tasks. For instance, an ophthalmic medical assistant help eye doctors care for patients and train patients in the right way to care for contact lenses. They may also help clean and dress injured eyes.

A podiatric medical assistant focuses their work on patients with issues of the foot, ankle and lower extremities. These medical assistants undergo specialized training to address the specific issues and processes involved in foot care.

Pediatric medical assistants help physicians and nurses treat children and often require specialized training to address the unique challenges and processes that come with working with young patients.

What does a medical assistant do in a primary care clinic? In this setting a medical assistant may specialize in clerical tasks, such as patient records, processing and taking a verbal medical history.

The above areas are just a small sample of the specialty areas medical assistants work in every day.

What does a Medical Assistant Do? Required Training

Legal requirements for becoming a certified medical assistant will vary from state-to-state and many do not have specific legally-mandated certification requirements. However, most employers will only hire candidates with specific certifications and medical training.

Many vocational schools, community colleges and private educational institutions offer medical assistant programs that range from a few months to more than a year. While certification is not required in every state, it will not be easy to find employment without certification through the American Association of Medical Assistants.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do? Conclusion

So what does a medical assistant do? Hopefully, this article answered some of the big questions. To really learn what does a medical assistant do, it would help to look into several educational programs to get an idea for what type of specialty area you hope to break into.

If you enjoy the thought of working with patients and supporting doctors and nurses, this could be a great career opportunity to get into a fast growing field with plenty of job growth projected.

What Does a Medical Assistant Do: Sources

Bureau of Labor Statistics

American Association of Medical Assistants