A Day in the Life: What a Medical Assistant Does on the Job | Career Training | The Salter School
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A Day in the Life: What a Medical Assistant Does on the Job

Category(ies): Professional Medical Assistant

what a medical assistant does, a day in the life, photo of medical assistantsSee what life is like in the field of medical assisting

If you have been to the doctor’s office lately, you may have met a medical assistant. Medical assistants are often the ones who call you back to the exam room to take your weight, temperature, and blood pressure. If you are interested in getting trained in the field of healthcare, becoming a medical assistant may be a good path for you.

The Salter School in Massachusetts offers a Medical Assistant training program that can be completed in less than one year. To learn more about this job as a career choice, take a few moments to learn about a typical day on the job. Find out what a medical assistant does on the job and the kinds of responsibilities that you would take on if you chose this career path.

Morning routine
If you work in a medical office, you will probably need to be at work by 7:30 or 8:00 a.m. Try to arrive about 10 or 15 minutes before your shift starts. This gives you a chance to put away your personal items and get ready for the day’s tasks. Be sure to check the list of patient appointments in the morning. You want to be sure you have the right supplies and equipment ready for each patient. You will also need to double-check that the appointments rooms are clean and ready for the first patients of the day.

Patients arrive
When patients begin arriving, the day really picks up. Usually the patients will check in at the front desk with an administrative medical assistant. Your job will be to call the patient back to the exam area. Be sure to great the patient warmly, and give them a smile. Some people are nervous about coming to the doctor, so it helps to see a medical assistant who is calm and friendly.

Meeting with patients
Nearly every appointment will begin with taking the patient’s vital signs. You will weight them, take their blood pressure, and take their temperature. Be sure to record this information into their electronic chart. If any of these measurements are dramatically different from the previous appointment, you should alert the physician. You will also talk to the patient about the reason for their visit and any changes to their health history or medications.

At this point, you will exit the room so that the patient can wait for the doctor. If this is a “well” visit, then your responsibilities might be finished. But if the patient has additional needs, you may need to come back into exam room at the end of the visit to administer an injection, clean and dress a wound, or give the patient an EKG.

In-between appointments
After a patient leaves the exam room, you will need to get the room ready for the next patient. You will need to follow your practice’s rules for wiping down the exam tables, throwing away paper products, properly discarding hazardous materials, and disinfecting items in the exam room. These measures help to prevent the spread of infection.

Staying on Schedule
Doctors’ offices can be busy places. A doctor may have new appointments every 15 minutes. In a practice that has many doctors, there will be many simultaneous appointments. This means there will be a lot of patients coming in and out of the exam rooms. Helping to manage the exam rooms and get them cleaned up quickly is critical to keeping the days’ appointments on schedule. As a medical assistant, you will get faster and more efficient at these tasks, and your good work can help to make you an important member of the office team.

Close of the day
When the last appointment leaves, you can take a deep breath and relax for a moment. This is a good time to catch up on administrative tasks. You may need to re-order supplies, re-stock the exam rooms with medical materials, or call in a prescription refill. Being disciplined about your administrative tasks at the end of each day (or during a slow period in the middle of the day) is a great way to stay on top of your work.

We hope this article helps you to envision what it’s like to be a medical assistant. If this job sounds up your alley, then contact the Salter School online. We would be happy to tell you more and help you decide whether this is the career path for you.

The Salter School Malden campus is no longer accepting new enrollments.