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What is a Medical Assistant?

Known throughout the health care industry as the medical office generalists, the medical assistants play a very vital role in the medical field. They are deemed as the most valuable part of the medical team, so it’s no wonder that today thousands of medical groups and organizations are looking for medical assistants to help them do the tasks and responsibilities entrusted to them as heath care professionals. With this, medical assisting is currently viewed as the fastest growing profession available for more than ten years.

Medical assisting is deemed as an ideal career for those who love working with different people of different personalities, want to make a big difference in the community they’re in, and want to work in a medical office with a medical doctor and other specialists as your big boss. The medical assistants are often employed in private and public medical group offices, but the profession is basically not a licensed career. The truth is, the medical assistants only work under the approval and direct supervision of a licensed physician or other licensed health care specialists.

There are a lot of tasks and responsibilities that the medical assistants are entitled to perform. The most basic involves the task of meeting and greeting people in the reception area of the medical office, sorting and opening a patient file for a new patient, keeping and maintaining the office equipments as well as the appointment books, attending required meetings, ordering and restocking supplies, and dealing with insurance billing and coding, to mention but a few. Perhaps the biggest responsibility that every medical assistant is entitled to do is to assist the medical doctors and nurses with the examinations and treatments both in the clinical and laboratory areas. It is basically in this sense that medical assistants are deemed “generalists” as they perform not only administrative and clerical duties, but also clinical and laboratory responsibilities.

Although the duties assigned for a medical assistant seemed so vast, there are certain limits set for the assistants to note and follow. For instance, the medical assistants have no right over performing clinical procedures unless ordered by the licensed physician. In the same way, the procedure must only be carried out in accordance with the assistant’s professional scope of practice. This simply means that if the assistant has no knowledge about a certain area of treatment, he or she has no right to do the procedure. They are even not allowed to make decisions regarding the diagnosis, treatment and emergency care plans of the patients.

Finally, the medical assistants are required to take a course or training first before they can handle the responsibilities and duties entrusted for the medical professionals. This is true although they do not have to be licensed or certified. Well, it’s no wonder then that today thousands of those who are planning to take such roles, are trained first on the job. Typically, they receive these trainings from colleges and even military and vocational institutions. And, just like a regular education, certain requirements are also set for the inspiring medical assistants to meet.


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