Breaking Down the Duties of a Medical Assistant

Medical Assistant Working With Older Woman

When preparing for a rewarding career as a medical assistant, you must be ready to handle a variety of responsibilities in the fast-paced world of healthcare. Between clerical and administrative tasks, you will play a key role in the smooth and efficient operation of the hospital, doctor’s office or other medical facility you work in. Prism Career Institute ensures that all graduates of our medical assistant program enter the field with a clear understanding of essential medical assistant duties to help them excel in their work. Here are just a few of the most important responsibilities you may be tasked with.

Initial Patient Assessments

Patient intake tasks are among the more common medical assistant duties, as you’ll work alongside nurses and doctors in assessing patients before an exam. Some of these tasks may include:

  • Checking vital signs, such as blood pressure, heart rate and temperature
  • Performing a physical exam involving height and weight measurements, vision screenings, hearing tests or checking for any abnormalities
  • Recording patient medical history, including current medical conditions, allergies, medications and family history of diseases
  • Caring for patients who need help with mobility, such as removing clothing for examinations, hygiene and using the bathroom

Support during Procedures

Once a doctor has ordered a specific test or treatment for the patient, you’ll be asked to prepare for the specific procedure. Medical assistants also provide essential support to doctors and nurses, and may even be tasked with some diagnostic testing on their own. Common duties include:

  • Physically preparing a patient for treatment
  • Attaching EKG electrodes or other equipment
  • Supporting the physician or specialist during the procedure
  • Removing bandages or sutures
  • Completing diagnostic work independently
  • Helping patients stay calm and comfortable
  • Collecting samples for blood work

Medical assistants also pack and ship samples once collected and record relevant data from completed tests. If patients have questions afterward, you’ll likely be responsible for addressing them.

Other Clinical Duties

The medical assistant’s work isn’t done when the exam or procedure ends. In fact, you’ll play a very important role in guiding patients through next steps and carrying out the doctor’s instructions. This can involve:

  • Explaining discharge instructions
  • Administering injections or oral medications
  • Calling in prescriptions to the patient’s pharmacy
  • Changing dressings or bandages on serious wounds or removing staples and stitches
  • Scheduling tests that cannot be performed on-site, like CT scans or MRIs, or surgical procedures
  • Cleaning all medical instruments and equipment to prepare for the next appointment

Outside the Examination Room

Aside from the clinical medical assistant duties you’ll be expected to perform, many medical assistants play an important role in administration. In fact, some medical assistant roles are fully focused on clerical duties. Common administrative tasks include:

  • Answering patient calls
  • Scheduling appointments
  • Greeting patients when they arrive
  • Collecting insurance information
  • Assisting with the completion of forms
  • Updating patient files
  • Organizing and filing patient charts
  • Managing an organizational calendar for one or more doctors

Start Preparing Now

Ready to step up and take on these medical assistant duties? Prism Career Institute can help prepare you for a rewarding career in healthcare with our medical assistant programs in Cherry Hill and Egg Harbor Township, NJ. Contact us today to request additional information or schedule a campus tour.