Duties for an AAS in Medical Assistant graduate vary according to what is allowed by state law. Some common tasks include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examinations, and assisting physicians during examinations.
Medical Assistants collect and prepare laboratory specimens and sometimes perform basic laboratory tests on the premises, dispose of contaminated supplies, and sterilize medical instruments. They might instruct patients about medications and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a local pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for x-rays, take electrocardiograms, remove sutures, and change dressings.
ADMINISTRATIVE (FRONT OFFICE) RESPONSIBILITIES
Medical Assistants should be able to perform clerical duties. Those duties can include answering telephones, greeting patients, updating and filing patient medical records, completing insurance forms, handling correspondence, scheduling patient appointments, arranging for hospital admission and laboratory services, and handling billing and bookkeeping.
CLINICAL (BACK OFFICE) RESPONSIBILITIES
Medical Assistants will spend much of their time in the clinic area. Clinical duties may include taking medical histories and recording vital signs, explaining treatment procedures to patients, preparing patients for examination and assisting during examinations.
They may also collect and prepare laboratory specimens or perform basic laboratory tests. They instruct patients about medication and special diets, prepare and administer medications as directed by a physician, authorize drug refills as directed, telephone prescriptions to a pharmacy, draw blood, prepare patients for X-rays, take EKGs, remove suture and change dressings.
Medical Assistants work in a well-lighted, clean environment. They constantly interact with other people, and may have to handle several responsibilities at once.
More and more Medical Assistants are being employed to keep up with a growing medical industry, and employment is soaring for this occupation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Medical Assistant profession is projected to be the fastest growing health care occupation of them all over the 2002-12 period. Prospects are best for Medical Assistants with formal training or experience.
Health care facilities are particularly interested in the flexible Medical Assistant who can handle both office and clinical duties. Because Medical Assistants deal with the public, they must be neat and well groomed and have a polite, pleasant manner. Medical Assistants must be able to put patients at ease and explain physicians’ instructions.
Medical Assistants working as a hospital employee may be able to advance to office manager, ward clerk, or medical record clerk. Medical Assistants may qualify for a wide variety of administrative support occupations, or may teach medical assisting. Some, with additional schooling, enter other health occupations such as nursing and medical technology.
*Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2008 (2006-07) Edition