Medical assistants are trained to support physicians with clinical or administrative work. Their tasks vary from updating patients' charts to general office work. Many are trained on the job, but there are programs in schools where you are trained on your job. The programs include certificate, diploma or associate degree. There are several medical assistant schools throughout the world and the qualification to join a formal training program is usually a high school diploma.
There are several sources taken in Medical Assistant Schools. They are:
• Administrative and Office Procedures
A trainee is taught how to handle office tasks that mostly involve paperwork. This varies from how to answer phones, bookkeeping and handling medical insurance for the patients. A computer course is an added advantage as most records today are digitized, hence the need to be familiar with computers and relevant applications such as database management systems. This is too inclusive of laws and ethics in medical practice.
In addition, communication with patients and medical personnel is covered.
• Laboratory Procedures
This includes a practical knowledge of the workings of a laboratory. A trainee will be taught all laboratory techniques, such as specimen collection.
Pharmacology involves the introduction of drugs, as well as administering them. The course will give basic knowledge on medicines, right combinations as well as dosages.
This is the introduction to the nervous system, body senses and the endocrine systems. The endocrine system includes gland and their secretions.
• Clinical Procedures
The trainee is taught on how different machines operate, as well as procedures. Body systems such as respiratory and circulatory are included in this unit. Patients assessment is all included, where the trainee can conduct physical exams and emergency responses first aid.
• Patient Care
This is how to relate to the patient, administering their medication in the correct dosage and updating their charts. Procedures like therapy, dialysis and others are also included, along with dietary advice and counseling. A trainee is taught how to take care of patient even when the physician is not around, by ensuring that correct procedures are undertaken.
Once the initial training is complete, a medical assistant can opt to further their education. Some become nurses, teachers or hospital administrators.
Without medical assistants, medical facilities would be crippled by the work load. Moreover, they are trained in medical procedures and office administration so they cover more work in different departments.
As far as jobs go, medical assistants are always in high demand. Your school will guide you when applying for internship programs, which more that often help you get a job by absorption by the institution you are working for.