Role Description Of a Medical Assistant

Medical assistants can work in various settings within health care; however, most medical assistants work in ambulatory settings, such as clinics and medical offices. Medical assistants work as part of the health care team performing clinical and administrative procedures. Because they are multiskilled professionals, they are commonly described as the most versatile members of the health care team. On any given day, a medical assistant might aid a physician in the examination of elderly patients, assist in the care of prenatal clients, give immunization injections to infants, administer medications, perform electrocardiograms (ECGs), draw blood for laboratory tests, file medical records, schedule appointments, enter data into a computer, and any number of other duties. Some medical assistants work primarily as clinical medical assistants, sometimes called back office medical assistants, helping with such hands-on duties as examinations and treatments.Others work primarily as administrative medical assistants, sometimes called front office medical assistants, where they perform a variety of clerical duties, such as reception, scheduling, billing, and coding. Others work in offices where they serve in both areas. Because of their versatility, medical assistants are sometimes floated, which means they are temporarily moved from one area to another within a facility in order to help where they are most needed.

Medical assistants perform clinical and administrative tasks as delegated, or assigned, by the physician, supervisor, or nurse. Duties that can be delegated include those within the medical assistant’s legal scope and for which she has received appropriate training. Such tasks must also be within the delegator’s scope of practice, which is the legal description of professional responsibilities and duties that may be performed by a licensed or certified individual. Scope of practice is determined primarily by a state practice act.Tasks must also be within the bounds of the medical assistant’s education, training, and experience. The scope of practice for medical assistants varies from state to state, but in most states medical assistants work as agents of the physician and are under his or her supervision.

Historically, most medical assistants were trained on the job. Many such individuals have attained a commendable level of knowledge and skills in this manner. However, there is little consistency in the training that occurs on the job, and employers bear the burden of such training. Therefore, employers appreciate the opportunity to hire individuals who are already fully trained and qualified. Therefore, it is best for medical assistants to attend and graduate from accredited programs of medical assisting. These programs have been certified as having met specific standards set by regional or national organizations.

Students who enroll in accredited programs can rest assured that they will receive excellent education and training that meets the standards and expectations of future employers. They will be prepared to enter the profession and work in virtually any ambulatory health care setting. Furthermore, as graduates of accredited programs, they will be eligible to take an examination to earn their certification credentials, which are an indication that they have met specific requirements and earned the right to exercise certain skills.