Common skills of the Medical Assistant

A versatile medical assistant will maintain her skills in administrative and clinical areas of the medical office or facility in which she works. Below are some of the administrative and clinical skills a medical assistant will put to use in her practice.

Medical assistants are commonly employed in primary care settings, such as family practice clinics where patients of all ages are seen for wellness checks as well as non-emergency care of injury and illness. Specialty offices also employ medical assistants in administrative and clinical roles, making it possible for medical assistants to specialize in an area of interest. Other, less traditional sites known to employ medical assistants include laboratories and research clinics.


• Prepare and maintain the reception and waiting areas
• Greet patients
• Gather insurance data
• Determine insurance coverage
• Complete insurance claim forms
• Enter data into the computer
• Compile patient’s charts
• Identify and record codes related to diagnoses and procedures
• Perform manual or electronic bookkeeping
• Answer telephones
• Schedule appointments
• Update medical records
• Handle mail and correspondence
• Coordinate consultations
• Perform inventory and order supplies


• Assist the physician with patient examinations
• Prepare patients and equipment for examinations and procedures
• Assist with testing
• Perform phlebotomy (draw blood)
• Assist as appropriate in first aid or cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
• Collect and prepare specimens for testing
• Perform basic laboratory testing
• Administer medications (in most states) under the supervision of the physician
• Authorize drug refills as directed
• Phone prescriptions to the pharmacy
• Obtain an electrocardiogram (ECG)
• Prepare and assist with x-rays
• Assist in minor surgical procedures
• Prepare sterile trays and equipment
• Sanitize equipment and supplies
• Sterilize equipment using autoclave, steam, or chemical methods
• Gather patients’ medical histories
• Provide patient education
• Obtain and record vital signs
• Remove sutures
• Apply and change dressings
• Prepare examination rooms