There are plenty of reasons that people enter the medical field. The most obvious, of course, are the facts that it is growing rapidly and offers great pay and benefits. While higher than average pay and unmatched job security is reason enough for most to consider entering the field, the excitement of new challenges each day and the personal rewards that come with helping people are icing on the cake. One of the easiest ways to enter the medical field is as a medical assistant. While not quite on the same level as surgery, medical assisting has numerous exciting areas of expertise that will make up each day on the job. Exact duties will vary from location to location, but include a long list of different responsibilities. Here’s a look at some of the most exciting tasks you could face as a medical assistant.
- Lab Specimens – Medical assistants will likely be tasked with collecting lab specimens and in some instances will even conduct basic laboratory tests on the samples, giving the doctor more time to focus on other issues.
- Sterilization – A medical assisting degree will also qualify you to handle decontamination and sterilization, properly disposing of hazardous materials and sterilizing equipment as needed.
- Prescriptions – You might find yourself needing to contact pharmacies with prescription information as well as authorizing prescription refills. This is generally a daily task, and your medical assistant degree will allow you to perform it.
- Drawing Blood – Some areas and some medical assisting degrees will allow you to be qualified enough to draw blood from patients to use for testing.
- Injections – Likewise, a medical assistant degree will often give you the needed qualifications to administer in-office injections of various medications. These could be intra-muscular injections or intravenous injections, but as a medical assistant you should be qualified to handle both. Injections could include medications, vitamins, steroids, and even immunizations.
- Health Assessment – In many doctors’ offices the medical assisting professional will be the one who takes the initial health assessment, asking patients what their problems and symptoms are and taking the needed notes.
- Vital Signs – A medical assistant who handles clinical duties will also take a patient’s vital signs such as pulse, blood pressure, and temperature.
- Physical Exams – Some basic exams such as eye tests or even reflexes may be administered by a medical assistant, depending upon where they work and what level of education they’ve completed.
- Suture Removal – In some instances your medical assistant degree will also qualify you to remove sutures from patients who have had them. This delicate procedure can be exciting and challenging.
- X-Rays – Although you may not actually perform the x-ray itself, in many cases medical assisting involves preparing patients to have their x-rays performed including helping them to the table, giving instructions, and providing them with adequate radiation protection.
- Electrocardiograms – Even these procedures may be undertaken by a medical assistant in some locations, and you’ll be tasked with properly completing the procedure and delivering the results to the physician.
Since medical assisting is often broken up into clinical duties and administrative ones, you’ll likely split your time between handling paperwork like filing insurance forms and performing clinical duties like some of the previously mentioned tasks. Some offices employ medical assisting professionals to work exclusively at the front desk and then hire another to handle the ‘back office’ duties like injections and health assessments. Depending upon where you live and where you’re hired you could find yourself handling a huge range of medical related tasks both exciting and mundane. For those looking for a great combination of excitement and job security, a medical assisting degree is the perfect choice.